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From Civil Rights to Black Liberation: HBCUs
"As the civil rights struggle widened into a national liberation struggle, many activists began looking for political strategies that went beyond the integrationism of mainstream civil rights groups." Liberation School
The rich history of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) began before the end of slavery, flourished in the 20th century, and profoundly influenced the course of the nation for over 150 years — yet remains largely unknown. With Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities, the latest documentary from Stanley Nelson (Black Panthers, Freedom Riders) and Marco Williams, the powerful story of the rise, influence, and evolution of HBCUs comes to life.
A haven for Black intellectuals, artists and revolutionaries—and path of promise toward the American dream—Black colleges and universities have educated the architects of freedom movements and cultivated leaders in every field. They have been unapologetically Black for more than 150 years. For the first time ever, their story is told.
Directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson, Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universitiesexamines the impact Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have had on American history, culture, and national identity.
The Community Screening Guide is a free downloadable toolkit to facilitate dialogue and deepen understanding of the history, growth, and current challenges facing historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). It features tips for facilitating conversations around the film, sample discussion questions, HBCU facts and resources.
The #HBCURising House Party Toolkit is a free downloadable toolkit to facilitate hosting a watch party of Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities at your home, organization, place of worship or social group on the night of the national television broadcast.
Tell Them We Are Rising Brings the 1st Documentary on Our Nation’s HBCUs to PBS
Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities tells the story of the unapologetic black place HBCUs have held in American history for more than 150 years. They have served as havens for black intellectuals, artists and revolutionaries. They have educated the architects of freedom movements and cultivated leaders in every field. They have been the path of promise toward the American dream for black people since before the end of slavery.
In his book Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes to his fifteen-year-old son about what it means to be a black man living in a black body. He illuminates how history, social constructs, and current events merge to create a society where, “police departments . . . have been endowed with the authority to destroy your body.”  To Coates, his body and the bodies of his black ancestors have continuously been destroyed, sold, and viewed as inferior to “White America.” He writes of the acts that have oppressed and violated black bodies through history and how this violation of identity and dreams continues today.
The name has changed over the years, but the mission at Morgan State University has remained fundamentally the same: To provide an affordable, quality education with a special emphasis on serving the needs of African-American students.
The Methodist Episcopal Church established the school in 1867. Then known as the Centenary Biblical Institute, its purpose was to prepare future ministers. The school awarded its first bachelor's degree in 1895, having renamed itself Morgan College five years earlier in honor of the Reverend Lyttleton Morgan, the first chairman of its board of trustees.
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) is a land-grant, historically black college founded in 1886 as the Delaware Conference Academy. Since its beginning, the institution has had several name changes and governing bodies. It was Maryland State College from 1948 until 1970, when it became one of the five campuses that formed the University of Maryland. In 1988, it became a member of the then eleven campus (now thirteen) University of Maryland System, now known as the University System of Maryland . UMES is approved by the state of Maryland and fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
April 8,1933, celebrates the beginning of European Jewish relationships with African Americans on HBCU campuses. Only months after Hitler seized power in Germany in the spring on 1933, Jewish intellectuals who had held prestigious positions in Germany's renowned universities were targeted for expulsion. One of the first pieces of Nazi legislation excluded “non-Aryans” from civil service or academic positions in Germany. Those who dared to oppose the decree were met with brutal suppression. Often leaving with little more than the clothes on their backs, many of these scholars fled to America, hoping to continue their academic careers. They soon found themselves in a strange and mysterious country, a nation reeling from the Depression and filled with anti-Semitic and anti-German sentiment. They discovered a new form of persecution in the Jim Crow South, where they taught at Historic Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s).
To Beyoncé, attending a historically black college is more than a niche experience coveted only by students and alumni. Instead, it’s something thematically paramount and worthy of an enormous stadium.
Beyonce performed at the 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival.CreditLarry Busacca/Getty Images for Coachella
Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities is the first film to survey the 170 history of HBCUs. These short form videos allow for a deeper dive into the world of Black Colleges, including sports, Fraternal life and more.
The first HBCU owned and operated by African Americans was Wilberforce University in Ohio, which was founded in 1856. It was named for William Wilberforce, an abolitionist.
9% of all African American college students were enrolled at HBCUs in 2015.
More than 20% of African-American college graduates receive their degree from an HBCU.
40% of African-American members of Congress, 50% of African-American lawyers, and 80% of African-American judges graduated from an HBCU.
The average graduation rate at a four-year HBCU hovered around 59% in 2015, higher than that national average for African American students at non-HBCUs.
HBCUs significantly contribute to the creation of African American science degree holders: agriculture (51.6%), biology (42.2%), computer science (35%), physical science (43%), and social science (23.2%).
Nine of the top ten colleges that graduate the majority of African American students who go on to earn Ph.D.s are HBCUs.
Graduates from Spelman and Bennett Colleges contribute to over half of the nation’s African American women who earn doctorates in all science fields, which is more than Ivy League “Seven Sisters” combined.
Half of the nation’s 105 HBCUs have a freshman class where three-quarters of the students are from low-income backgrounds, while just 1% of the non-HBCUs colleges serve as high a percentage of low-income students.
HBCUs are open to students of any race or ethnic background. An average of one in four HBCU students is a different race than the one the school was intended to serve, with Asians and Latino students the fastest growing demographic.
The Coppin State University School of Education has a long history of preparing teachers and other professionals for Maryland and the Nation. Indeed, our institution was founded in 1900 as a teacher-training program to serve the educational needs of Baltimore City and surrounding counties. Today, it continues to be a major contributor to the advancement of its surrounding community, the state of Maryland, and the Nation.
Miner Teachers College was the principal school to train black teachers in the city for more than 70 years. The school was named for Myrtilla Miner, a white woman, who founded a school that was known as both Miner's School and the School for Colored Girls in 1851. The original Miner's School was located in the block bounded by 19th, 20th, N, and O streets, NW. It closed in 1860.
In 1863 Congress granted a charter to re-open the school as the Institution for the Education of Colored Youth, and it held its first classes after the Civil War ended in 1865. From 1871 to 1876 it was associated with Howard University. In 1879, as Miner Normal School, it became part of the District of Columbia public school system.
The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) is a historically black, public university located in Washington, D.C. UDC is one of only a few urban land-grant universities in the country and a member of the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund. It is also the only public university in the District of Columbia. It’s nickname is the Firebirds and the University is member of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Their colors are Red and Gold and their motto is An Invitation to Success.
African American Fraternities and Sororities: The Legacy and the Vision explores the rich past and bright future of the nine Black Greek-Letter organizations that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council. In the long tradition of African American benevolent and secret societies, intercollegiate African American fraternities and sororities have strong traditions of fostering brotherhood and sisterhood among their members, exerting considerable influence in the African American community, and being on the forefront of civic action, community service, and philanthropy.
[I]gnorance about HBCUs seems to be fading. Just recently, the acclaimed film Tell Them We Are Rising aired on PBS stations. The film tells the story of how most HBCUs came into existence shortly after the Civil War in response to the craving for education on the part of the newly freed men and women. But from their earliest days, HBCUs struggled. That’s not surprising in a country that couldn’t have cared less about the education of black people and so did little to support them.
#HERSTORY Mary S. Peake
Mary S. Peake (1823-1862) secretly educated formerly enslaved African Americans of all ages, in her home in Hampton, Virginia. Born to a free woman of color in Norfolk, Virginia, Peake was sent to Alexandria (then part of Washington, D.C.) to be educated. At age sixteen, Peake returned home to secretly teach enslaved and free African Americans to read and write. This was a tremendous risk in the face of an 1831 law, passed as a response to the Nat Turner Rebellion, which forbade the education of any person of African descent. In 1847, Peake's family moved to Hampton where she continued to secretly teach. Her home was torched by Confederate forces during the Civil War, after the attack many African Americans sought refuge nearby at Fort Monroe. Peake started a school near the fortress, on the grounds of what would become Hampton Institute (later Hampton University). In just a matter of days, Peake’s attendance increased from six students to fifty. As a dedicated educator, Mary S. Peake created a school for adult learning in the evenings despite her failing health. Her school was one of the first of its kind, and a tremendous feat in the American South, during the Civil War. #HiddenHerstory
JSTOR provides access to more than 10 million academic journal articles, books, and primary source. With our subscription, we have access to Arts & Sciences, Life Sciences, 19th Century British Pamphlets, Ecology and Botany, and Business.
Provides full-text coverage of more than 250 publications from the ethnic and minority press. The collection totals over one million newspaper, magazine and journal articles. Coverage dates back to 1990. Nearly one-quarter of the articles are presented in Spanish.
Full historic content from four major black newspapers: The Chicago Defender (1909-75), The New York Amsterdam News (1922-93), The Atlanta Daily World (1931-2003), and The Baltimore Afro-American (1893-1988).
Online Exhibit: Evolutions and Legacies: Martin Luther King, Jr. and D.C., 1957-1972
Washingtonians have consistently claimed Dr. King as a native son—from local organizing to support national campaigns, including the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom in 1957 and the Poor People’s Campaign / Resurrection City in 1968, to the successful letter-writing campaign to name the central library in his honor, which led to the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library in 1972.
Evolutions and Legacies explores how a wide range of Washingtonians embraced King as he evolved from a focus on racism and white supremacy in the South to a broader critique of poverty, capitalism and the Vietnam War. For the 50th anniversary of 1968, this online exhibit traces King’s unique experiences and relationships in Washington, D.C., and widens conversations about his representations and legacies in the early 21st century.
Co-curated by Derek Gray, DC Public Library Special Collections archivist, and Dr. Marya Annette McQuirter, curator of the #dc1968 project.
Founded in 1865, Bowie State University is Maryland’s oldest historically black university, and one of the ten oldest African American institutions of higher education in the United States. It is also one of eleven senior colleges and universities in the University of Maryland system. The institution is located on a scenic wooded tract adjacent to the city of Bowie, Maryland, about mid-way between Washington, D.C. and Annapolis, the state capital, and about 25 miles south of Baltimore.
Bowie State University traces its history back to a school opened in Baltimore in January of 1865 by the Baltimore Association for the Moral and Educational Improvement of Colored People. The first classes were held in the African Baptist Church of Baltimore. In 1868, with assistance from the Freedmen’s Bureau, the school relocated to a building purchased from the Society of Friends at Courtland and Saratoga Streets. The institution re-organized solely as a normal school to train black teachers in 1893.
This Is What Went Down When Albert Einstein Visited HBCU Lincoln University In 1946
Dr. Albert Einstein is most celebrated for being a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and discovering the theory of relativity. Einstein was one of 340,000 Jews who became refugees after fleeing Germany during Hitler's reign of terror, and subsequently the Holocaust. Having been persecuted for his faith, Einstein knew--first hand--the negative and deadly impact of power and oppression. However, one aspect of the genius' life, that is often overlooked, is his relationship with African Americans and his role in the Civil Rights movement. In 1946, he visited Lincoln University, an HBCU located in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The school is the alma mater to some of the greats including, Langston Hughes and Thurgood Marshall, Cab Calloway, and was the first university that allowed African Americans to earn their degrees.
The influence of Black Television and HBCUs - Culture
The invention of the television created a new outlet for influence on society, and with the premiere of The Ethel Waters Show in 1939, “black television” began. “Black television” can be described as a number of black sitcoms many black Americans have been influenced by or that are part of black culture.