July 23, 2024

As Historically Black Colleges and Universities shutter, America loses its history – Archinect

For nearly 200 years, since the opening of Pennsylvania’s Cheyney University in 1837, H.B.C.U.s have educated thousands of students, including the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Justice Thurgood Marshall, Toni Morrison, Representative Elijah Cummings and Senator Kamala Harris. But from a high of 120 such schools to about 101 in 2019, many have faced an uncertain future. In the last 20 years, six have closed, and several others remain open in name only after losing accreditation.
A recent New York Times report chronicles the increasing pace of financial woes and accreditation hurdles facing Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in the United States. 
The report states that in the last 20 years, six HBCUs have shuttered, leaving only 101 of these culturally and historically significant institutions in operation. 
At their height, at least 120 HBCUs were in operation across the United States, providing a vital source of educational opportunity for Black Americans, including in architecture
According to The New York Times, a variety of leading political and cultural figures graduated from HBCUs, including Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, author Toni Morrison, Representative Elijah Cummings, and Senator Kamala Harris, among many others.
At least two of the recently-shuttered universities, Morristown College in Tennessee and St. Paul's College in Lawrenceville, Virginia, are listed in the National Register of Historic Places
Regarding the HBCU closures, Marla Moore, a graduate of the now-closed Concordia College in Selma, Alabama, told The New York Times, “African-American community culture has already been whitewashed, so to not have anything at all that’s not yours, I don’t want to think about it.” Moore added, “It’s like a part of your heritage is taken away, like during slavery.”

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