Many Americans and foreigners want to attend a historically black college. There are many reasons for this. Students enjoy the prestige of a university founded by an African-American historical figure, intellectual or scholar. The most appealing factors for many students are the university provides diverse academic and cultural programs, faculty, collections, and community that reflect and represent African-Americans’ roles in history, science, culture, and society.
There are some excellent black colleges on the East Coast, many clustered in the Washington D.C. or Virginia area. So, I decided to create a black colleges tour that focuses on these universities. The tour is designed for high school students who are deciding which college to attend. Following is a brief description of each university, highlighting the history of the institution, academic departments that are most distinguished and other facts about the college,
Howard University, Washington D.C.
Howard University was established in 1867. Howard Hall was built in 1869 and is one of the centerpieces of the historical campus. Located in the heart of Downtown Washington D.C., Howard has the sophistication of an urban university. Currently 10,500 students attend Howard University. Howard is known for its Arts and Sciences, Business, and Communications programs.
Hampton University, Hampton, VA
Officially founded as a school for former slaves towards the end of the Civil War under the Emancipation Oak in 1861, Hampton University has evolved from Hampton Normal School, to Hampton Institute to the University it is today. Booker T. Washington is an alumni of Hampton University, and Rosa Parks actually worked there in 1957. Hampton U enrolls approximately 5,500 students and 91% are African American. Many students are enrolled in the Liberal Arts Program, School of Business, School of Science and School of Nursing. Hampton, Virginia is located on the Chesapeake Bay and offers business, technology and industry nearby as well as access to miles of coastline.
Norfolk State University – Norfolk, VA
Another inner city university, “one of the largest predominantly black institutions in the nation” is Norfolk State University. It was founded in 1935. Today, Norfolk State enrolls nearly 7,000 students and offers 30 Undergraduate and 16 Master’s Degrees as well as 3 Doctoral degrees. The University is conveniently situated near Norfolk’s harbor and downtown. The campus has recently been updated in anticipation of the opening of The Tide — Hampton Roads Transit’s newest high-speed rail line — with a station at NSU.
Virginia Union University – Richmond, VA
Founded in 1865 in post Civil War Richmond — which had recently burned — Virginia Union University was established to teach the newly emancipated population. Because the American Baptist Home Mission Society spearheaded this mission in the 19th Century, the School of Theology is especially renowned. Liberal Arts, education, teaching and civic engagement are also emphasized. With only 1,500 students, this university offers individual attention in learning. Famous alumnus include the R&B singer Will Downing and James Atkins, a former NFL player.
Bowie State University – Bowie, MD
This university was also founded in 1865, and is the oldest historically black college/university in Maryland. The college collaborates with NASA and houses one of the world’s 100 most powerful supercomputers as well as a satellite operations control station. The campus is in a rural setting, but still located within easy reach of Baltimore, MD and Washington D.C. There are approximately 5,500 students enrolled. With seven residence halls, undergraduate campus life is stimulating. Bowie State University is a leader in teacher education and accreditation, and also houses a Summer Institute in Computer Applications for undergraduate minority students.
A visit to Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD can also be included with this tour. I have omitted a description here because I reviewed this college tour in another article, “High school Groups Take College Tours of Campuses in Washington D.C. area.”