November 2014

HBCUs in the 21 century

I attended the first Wednesday at the library series program and got a lot out of it.

The topic was Relevance of HBCUs in the 21st century and the guest panelists were Dr. F. Perna Carter, dean of the School of Business and Technologyat Saint Augustine’s University; Lt. Col. Joseph Holt Jr. USAF Ret. , a pioneer in the civil rights movement in Raleigh; Saint Augustine’s University Alumnus Ms. DeAsia Lewis; junior biology major and Presidential Scholar; Mr. Avery Manigault, freshman business major and first-generation college student; and Mr. Michael Thomas, senior biology major and Student Government Association president.

The panelists were asked to discuss the history of why we need HBBCUS , the relevance of HBCUs pros and cons, and what the future looked like for HBCUs. I learned the important role   HBCUs played in our history.  When they were started, blacks weren’t allowed to read or write. We weren’t allowed to learn.

“HBCUs were created only for the newly freed slaves,”  Dr. Carter explained. “If not for HBCUs where would they go?…A lot of families could only send one person in the family to school, a lot of times, believe it or not it would be the youngest person in the family.”

Having HBCUs gave us the opportunity to better ourselves, encourage ourselves, and teach ourselves. Today, HBCUS have their pros and cons; The pros include smaller class sizes, more hands-on learning and less pressure – you’re among your own race so you blend in and feel more comfortable. The cons include the location – many HBCUs are in the ‘hood – and the reputation HBCUs may have and the affect on the jobs you can get or grad school you can attend.

I think the future of HBCUs may not have a good future if this generation does not appreciate them more. This new generation wasn’t alive to see the struggle so they don’t understand the relevance and importance of an HBCU.

There needs to be a movement to help HBCUs gain their relevance back. By word of mouth we should spread the word about the positive and not be so negative.

-By Imani Mitchell