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10 Top HBCUs You Should Know About

Historically Black Colleges and Universities turn out some of the most talented scientists, creatives, politicians and future leaders in the nation. Find out more about the best HBCUs in America and some of their famous alums.

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The History of HBCUs

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have played an important role in American history. These schools were created at a time when racism and segregation legally prohibited Black students from getting an education, and an HBCU was often the only way for Black students to learn skills and trades and improve the quality of their lives. Some of the oldest HBCUs were founded in the late 1800s as religious seminary schools, while others started as agricultural and teacher training centers before expanding to colleges and universities.

Today, there are more than 100 HBCUs around the country, and these institutions are still important because they provide an inclusive environment and access to higher education for many first-generation college students. HBCUs have also been responsible for graduating some of the most influential Black Americans like Martin Luther King Jr., Vice President Kamala Harris and Oprah Winfrey. In celebration of HBCUs, we rounded up 10 HBCUs around the country that you should know about.

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Howard University - Washington, DC

Howard University was founded in 1867, and the Washington, DC, school is one of the most notable HBCUs in the nation. Originally a seminary for Black men, Howard has expanded to offer graduate, undergraduate and professional degrees across 140 areas. Howard University has a long list of alumni from Vice President Kamala Harris to Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman and Nobel prize-winning author Toni Morrison. Located only two miles from the United States Capitol, the 256-acre campus has one of the world’s most comprehensive research libraries on African American history and a diverse student body that represents 104 countries.

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Spelman College - Atlanta

Spelman College started as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary in 1881, and in 1924, the school adopted the name Spelman College. Today, it is consistently ranked among the best all-girls schools in the country. Spelman’s tagline is “A Choice to Change the World,” and they’ve certainly sent out change-makers from their campus. Distinguished Spelman alumni include former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, Pulitzer prize-winning author Alice Walker and The Cosby Show actress Keshia Knight Pulliam. Spelman also has a notable art gallery on campus. The Spelman College Museum of Fine Arts is the only museum in the country dedicated to art for and by women of the African Diaspora.

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Morehouse College - Atlanta

Considered the “brother” school to Spelman College, Morehouse College is the only all-male African American college in the United States. The school was founded in 1867 as the Augusta Institute and later the school relocated to Atlanta, changing its name to Morehouse College in 1913. Morehouse College has also graduated its share of influential figures including civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., director Spike Lee and actor Samuel L. Jackson. Morehouse College is also the home of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, which houses an extensive collection of Dr. King’s essays and papers from his time as a civil rights leader.

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