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Effort underway to preserve historic buildings on historically Black campuses

BY   Wilford Shamlin III    PUB   The Philadelphia Tribune 

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) wants to see more done to restore and preserve historic buildings on traditionally Black campuses as “national treasures,” and it hopes the public will help press U.S. senators Wednesday for at least $5 million in funding toward the effort during National HBCU Week.


“The fate of more than 700 historic buildings on HBCU [Historically Black Universities and Colleges] campuses hinges on the support of the U.S. Senate,” UNCF President and CEO Michael Lomax wrote in urging the public’s support for a bill introduced by James Clyburn, the highest-ranking Black congressman and the Democrat’s No. 3 leader in the House of Representatives. The national call-to-action uses the hashtag #PreserveHBCUs.

Clymer, a former high school history teacher, said he has worked to “preserve and protect our nation’s historic treasures,” saying many of the buildings and sites have aged more than a century and remain “at risk of being lost completely if not preserved and protected.”



Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
INSTITUTION OF HIGHER LEARNING, U.S.Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before 1964 with the intention of primarily serving the African American community. They have always allowed admission to students of all races.

There are 107 HBCUs in the United States, including public and private institutions, community and four-year institutions, medical and law schools. Most were created in the aftermath of the American Civil War and are in the former slave states, although a few notable exceptions exist.

Most HBCUs were established after the American Civil War, often with the assistance of northern religious missionary organizations. However, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania (1837) and Lincoln University (Pennsylvania) (1854) , were established for blacks before the American Civil War. In 1856 the AME Church of Ohio collaborated with the Methodist Episcopal Church, a predominantly white denomination, in sponsoring the third college Wilberforce University in Ohio. Established in 1865, Shaw University was the first HBCU in the South to be established after the American Civil War.

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, defines a “part B institution” as: “…any historically black college or university that was established before 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans, and that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary [of Education] to be a reliable authority as to the quality of training offered or is, according to such an agency or association, making reasonable progress toward accreditation.” Part B of the 1965 Act provides for direct federal aid to Part B institutions.

Of the 107 HBCU institutions in the United States today, 27 offer doctoral programs and 52 provide graduate degree programs at the Master’s level. At the undergraduate level, 83 of the HBCUs offer a bachelor’s degree program and 38 of these schools offer associate degrees. HBCUs are distinctive institutions in that they make up only 3% of the nation’s institutions of higher learning.


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