Donation by philanthropist MacKenzie Scott follows similar gifts to other Atlanta Black colleges
— Eric Stirgus, AJC
Clark Atlanta University, Georgia’s largest, private historically Black university, announced Tuesday it has received its single largest gift in its history, $15 million that will be used for student scholarships, infrastructure and technological improvements.
The gift came from MacKenzie Scott, a novelist, philanthropist and ex-wife of Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos. In July, Scott pledged $20 million each to Morehouse and Spelman colleges, also historically Black schools located adjacent to Clark Atlanta.
Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the intention of primarily serving the African-American community. Most of these institutions were founded in the years after the American Civil War and are concentrated in the Southern United States. During the period of segregation in the United States prior to the Civil Rights Act, the overwhelming majority of higher education institutions were predominantly white and completely disqualified or limited African-American enrollment. For a century after the end of slavery in the United States in 1865, most colleges and universities in the Southern United States prohibited all African Americans from attending, while institutions in other parts of the country regularly employed quotas to limit admissions of blacks.
There are 101 HBCUs in the United States, including both public and private institutions (of 121 institutions that existed during the 1930s). Of these remaining HBCU institutions in the United States, 27 offer doctoral programs, 52 offer master’s programs, 83 offer bachelor’s degree programs, and 38 offer associate degrees.