Historically Black Colleges and Universities

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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.[1] Most were created in the aftermath of the American Civil War. Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and Wilberforce University in Ohio, are two HBCUs established prior to the Civil War in 1854 and 1856, respectively.

In 1863, Congress passed the Morrill Act establishing land-grant colleges in each state. When the former Confederate states re-entered the union, they established land-grant colleges, but limited attendance to just white students. In response, Congress passed the Second Morrill Act in 1890, requiring that states which established a white-only land-grant college had to maintain a separate one for non-whites. Most HBCUs were founded under the Second Morrill Act, but others were founded by private groups or religious institution to meet the educational needs of freedmen following the Civil War.

There are 102 HBCUs in the United States, including public and private institutions, community and four-year institutions, medical and law schools.[2][3] HBCUs received special funding from the federal government.


  1. White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Retrieved on July 3, 2017.
  2. College Navigator. White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. United States Department of Education. Retrieved on June 4, 2017.
  3. Roach, Ronald. American Baptist College Designated as a Historically Black Institution. Diverse: Issues In Higher Education. Cox, Matthews, and Associates, Inc.. Retrieved on July 3, 2017.