Charlotte Marshall Templeman
Black Colleges Rock!
Lately I’ve been hearing about some Historically Black College and Universities (HBCU’s) who have been having financial problems. With these problems comes the threat of having to close. HBCU’s have been in existence for over 150 years. They were founded on the principles to educate African Americans who otherwise could not attend predominantly white universities to receive an education. Many prominent African American have walked the halls of HBCU’s and have received a valuable education which allowed them to compete in their chosen field. HBCU’s have been more than institutions of learning; they have also been the catalyst of many finding out who they are.
Upon graduating from high school, my college choice was Howard University, but unfortunately I did not get accepted. I was crushed but I knew that college was still an option. After some researching I decided on Grambling State University in Louisiana. I was an 18 year old girl who never traveled that far without my mother so needless to say I was terrified. I started to wonder to myself if I made the right choice in selecting a school so far. I only knew one person there but I could not depend on him to hold my hand and baby me once I arrived. I was a young woman who was embarking on the next phase in my life. Although it was scary it was also exciting. I was ready for the challenge. Once I arrived I instantly felt at home. The staff, teachers and students made me feel so welcomed that I forgot how far I was away from the nest. It was a great feeling, unlike any I had ever experienced. It was the black college experience.
Although I did not graduate from Grambling State University, I did graduate from another HBCU which was Lincoln University. Black colleges are important on so many levels. They not only provide quality education to their students but they also provide a home away from home. There are many professors who step outside of the role of teacher and step into the role of parent. They are there to help with personal problems and they take the time to listen. For some students, attending an HBCU was their first time experiencing having an African American teacher, especially male. While attending GSU I had a professor who would talk to us about the world we were about to experience as college graduates even before she began her lesson. We were more than students to her we were like her children and it was felt.
We have to invest in our HBCU’s to ensure they will be here for other children to experience. It is important that we give back as alumni and assist in other areas where needed. HBCU’s have given so much more to its students beside an education. It has given us character, values, dreams and hopes to do better and be better. The life lessons I learned from attending an HBCU I could not have learned anywhere else. It allowed me to see that not all African American young people are drug dealers, high school drop outs, ignorant or with no desire on wanting to improve themselves. It showed me that there were just as many young people wanting to obtain a degree as myself. Because of HBCU’s there are many highly educated African Americans who make a difference in every profession there is such as science, medicine, mathematics, politics and the arts. By any means necessary we have to save our HBCU’s because black college’s rock!!!!