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Straight Facts: 8 Things You Should Know About HBCUs

Shoutout to HBCUs, the cornerstone of Black excellence. When African Americans were denied admission to white institutions, historically Black colleges and universities were created to equip the Black community with the knowledge and wisdom they needed to not only survive but thrive in this country. Since their founding, 150 years ago, they've produced some of the most prolific leaders and innovators from entertainment and sports to science, politics, and much more.

It goes without saying: HBCUs are essential to Black achievement and Black progress in America. To celebrate HBCUs' unique culture and their tremendous impact on American society, we've compiled eight interesting facts about these essential institutions.

1. There are over 100 HBCUs

Historically black colleges and universities are located within 20 states and the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Alabama has 14, making it the state with the highest number of HBCUs.

2. Black churches helped create the first HBCUs

Throughout history, churches have been the backbone of the Black community. They have also played a large role in creating the first HBCUs, which were established with the assistance of the American Missionary Association and the Freedmen's Bureau.

3. The Cheyney University of Pennsylvania is the oldest HBCU

Founded in 1837, The Cheney University of Pennsylvania holds the title as the oldest HBCU in American history, thanks to Quaker philanthropist Richarch Humphreys who set aside a tenth of his estate to build a school to educate people of African descent and prepare them to become teachers.

4. The Divine Nine are a significant part of HBCU Culture

Black fraternities and sororities are the heartbeat of HBCUs, bringing together young men and women together to honor Greek organizations' traditions and values. There are nine major greek organizations at Black colleges and universities, affectionately called the Divine Nine. Fun fact: Omega Psi Phi was the first fraternity to be created at an HBCU. It was founded at Howard University in 1911 by educator Ernest Everett Just and students Edgar Amos Love, Oscar James Cooper, and Frank Coleman.

5. HBCUs are responsible for 25% of African-American STEM graduates

Check this: HBCUs are responsible for educating 25% African-Americans with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics degrees, according to the United Negro College Fund. Top universities like Florida A&M University, Howard University, Hampton University, Morgan State University, and North Carolina A&T State University have produced many of these graduates.

6. More than half of America's Black teachers and dentists went to an HBCU

Yep, that's right. Over 50% of Black public school teachers in America graduated from an HBCU. There's also a high chance your favorite Black dentist went to an HBCU as 70% of African American dentists have earned their degrees at these institutions.

7. HBCUs cultivate a sense of pride amongst its students

The education and teachings at HBCUs are rooted in Black pride, which creates a student body that feels confident, self-assured, and supported in their studies. Gallup's 2015 survey showed that Black graduates of HBCUs felt significantly more supported while in college and were more equipped to take on the working world after graduation than their peers at other institutions.

8. HBCUs champion diversity

HBCUs are incredibly diverse, with many talented minds from various backgrounds coming to these institutions to get a top-tier education. That includes Black and non-Black students from various socioeconomic groups nationwide and internationally.

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