December 20, 2011

Need for HBCU’s Part 2

Part 2
“Philosophers have long
conceded, however, that
every man has two educators:
'that which is given to
him, and the other that
which he gives himself.

Of the two kinds the latter is by far the more
desirable. Indeed all that is most worthy in man
he must work out and conquer for himself. It is
that which constitutes our real and best nourishment.
What we are merely taught seldom nourishes the mind
like that which we teach ourselves.” Carter G. Woodson,
The Mis-education of the Negro

HBCU’s provide a chance to improve a life and look
past mistakes, what sometimes society tries to throw
away, an opportunity to grow and change for the better.
Stated by Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Ph.D.,
“People often think of HBCU’s as places that find
services for needy students. This is just one
argument made to justify HBCU’s existence. HBCU’s
do things that majority of college don’t do,
that they are more sensitive to certain things.”

Too many people especially in higher education
forget their mistakes of youth, that maybe from
social challenges and even incarcerations they
were given a second chance. Higher education is
the right for all citizens no matter their color,
culture or creed. HBCU’s recognize this that is
why some students are allowed to enroll to get
their lives back on track. Unique to HBCU’s
instructors see that when a person enrolls they
already may have financial, social or family
challenges; their desire to succeed is stronger
because there is a need to be in school and the
rewards of education are apparent. Addressing the
unique situations of students, Johnny Anderson a
Southern graduate states that HBCU students,
“they’re single parents, teen parents, folks
working two and three jobs to get ahead, and
dealing with a whole range of issues related
to their individualistic circumstances.”

Even in my classes at EWC I have single parents,
students working through medical conditions and
those that are working to mature into the person
they need to be to move forward in life.

“If you can control a man's thinking you do not
have to worry about his action. When you determine
what a man shall think you do not have to concern
yourself about what he will do. If you make a man
feel that he is inferior, you do not have to
compel him to accept an inferior status, for he
will seek it himself. If you make a man think that
he is justly an outcast, you do not have to order
him to the back door. He will go without being told;
and if there is no back door, his very nature will
demand one” Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-Education
of the Negro.

The growth of HBCU’s can be seen in data, in 2000
HBCU students were at 276,000, in 2009 the numbers
were 323,000. Success continues to be shown in other
studies, Inside Higher Education has shown that
HBCU’s enroll 18 percent of African Americans in
higher education and graduate 30 percent of those
who persist to graduation. They graduate 40 percent
of African Americans who obtain degrees in the STEM
(Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)
fields, 50 percent of those who go on to become
professors and 60 percent of those who major in engineering.

The surprising effectiveness of HBCU’s is that HBCUs
are as effective in graduating African-American student’s
equivalent to white institutions (Inside Higher Ed 2009).
HBCU’S continue to take a risk on students, giving them
a chance when non Black institutions may not consider
the potential within Black, Hispanic,Latino, Mexican,
Haitian and South American students. Even the President
of Spelman Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D. comments on the
benefits of HBCU’s and the help they provide students,
“what I don’t like is the continued question of why
HBCU’s are still needed.” Just from the examples stated
they are needed now and in the future. Students find
themselves more challenged than ever before so HBCU’s
provide an opportunity for higher education. Even in
a recent speech about HBCU’s President Obama has
claimed that HBCU’s are important to restore the U.S.
to its higher ranking as a higher education power house.

Graduates like Darryl “Topshelf” McClenton (FAMU 2010)
are future leaders being positive role models for others
that strive for a college education and attending HBCU’s.
His story is here:
Darryl McClenton Story

Moving into the 21st century for HBCU’s implementing
advanced technology maybe a challenge, but HBCU’S face
challenges and still turn out capable and confident
graduates. If not for the support I received attending
an HBCU (SCSU) I would possibly not have graduated. As an
instructor at Edward Waters College (Jacksonville, Florida)
I find that there is a strong desire to obtain an education
by the students that attend and at Florida A&M University
where my son attends. The challenges that the students face
are basically life itself. If Blacks are going to compete
and contribute to society they must make education a
priority for themselves and their children.

Education does not always open the doors we think is should,
change the minds and perceptions of Blacks by some in society,
but it empowers the spirit and the mind to press on to
overcome challenges. Maya Angelo wrote in “Still I Rise”,
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream
and the hope of the slave”; holds true, not to let the
challenges of life and the low expectations of people stop
you from growing into a better person.

HBCU teachers, teach from the heart and their experiences
not from the microchip or for political gains. HBCU’s are
important because they recognize the human element of
learning and the growth and potential of their students.
Malcolm X’s statement about education can still can be
applied even in the 21st century,” “Education is our
passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the
people who prepare for it today.” HBCU’s prepare future
scholars that will influence the world in many career

Our country still benefits from the education that
HBCU’S provide, countries outside of the U.S. are
seeing this as well and sending their students to
attend and experience the HBCU tradition of family
bonding and cultural strengthening.

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