Power of Forced Ignorance (04:10)
Slaveholders could do anything they wanted to a slave except educate them. A former mayor of New Haven, Connecticut said that letting black people into college or building a college for black students would lower public morals, decrease summer visitors, make women feel unsafe, and be dangerous.
Minority Education in the South Begins (04:09)
African-Americans fled plantations when the Civil War began and they started attending contraband schools. The American Missionary Association established schools to teach former slaves how to be civilized, and started colleges that eventually evolved into historically black colleges.
Rise of Education (03:51)
African Methodist Episcopal Church wanted colleges free from racism. By the late 1800s, there were 86 black colleges. Racist white people became angry over loosing their workforce; between 1866 and 1872 approximately 20,000 people were murdered because they were receiving education or educating former slaves.
Industrial Education (02:57)
Hampton College was founded by Yankee General Samuel Armstrong. Booker T. Washington attended the school, became Armstrong’s best student, and was recommended to lead Tuskegee Institute. Tuskegee became a campus dedicated to giving education to black people; whites believed it promoted the inferiority of black people.
Booker T. Washington Ideology (03:11)
In 1865, Washington gave the opening speech at the Atlanta Cotton Exposition. White people in the crowd began hissing and catcalling, but by the end of his speech, were agreeing with him. Washington offered society a black educated workforce as laborers.
African Americans Fight Back (04:09)
W.E.B. Du Bois believed Washington accepted black people as inferior to white people and education provided freedom. African Americans supported World War I and wanted democracy when they returned home; white people were not prepared for more equality. During the Red Summer of 1919, 28 cities burned.
College Protest (05:20)
Dr. Fayette McKenzie wanted to make Fisk University more conservative. Du Bois argued that discipline choked freedom and urged students not to sacrifice ideals for education and resist oppression. Students protested and Metro Nashville police took them to jail; students went on strike for ten weeks.
Redefining African American (03:56)
During the 1930s and 1940s, black students attended black colleges because they were the only places they could study. Black colleges lifted African Americans out of poverty, redefined what it meant to be black in America, and created the black middle class as seen today.
Integration at School (03:25)
Football was not just about the students; it brought the community together. Black colleges were safe spaces where students could be themselves. The plan to change racial segregation was cultivated by black professors and students.
Houston and Marshall (02:49)
Mordecai Johnson, the first black president of Howard University, hired Charles Hamilton Houston. Houston planned for Howard Law School to break down racism and segregation, but closed it in 1930. He refined Thurgood Marshall’s big personality and turned him into one of the most significant lawyers of that generation.
Separate but Equal (04:34)
Houston and Marshall take documented the differences of treatment and education between white children and black children in the Deep South. Houston planned to attack segregation by enforcing the equality portion of ‘separate but equal.' The University of Oklahoma admitted its first black student, George McLaurin, but he was not able to sit in class or interact with students and professors.
Brown vs Board of Education (02:51)
Houston's campaign stating that segregation is inequality came to fruition in 1954. A team of lawyers, led by an African American, argued that separate but equal was unconstitutional in the field of public education. At the time, white people were openly against integration.
First Protest (06:14)
In Greensboro North Carolina, four black students sat at the lunch counter in Woolworth’s. The store manager threatened to call police and refused service, but the students would not leave; 1,000 students joined them in protest. White became angry and committed acts of violence.
Protesting Segregation (02:18)
In Atlanta, Georgia black peopled entered Richard’s Department store and the manager threatened to put them in jail. Black people organized and cycled individuals through the store. Within six weeks, all downtown stores were desegregated.
Students Against the Administration (02:37)
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the major conflict in black colleges was between students and administrators; black people wanted to control their own education. Police became more violent during student interactions and more people were quick to call the police and look the other way when police used deadly force. The students became vulnerable.
Police Presence on Campus (04:34)
In 1970, Southern University was the largest black college in the U.S., but was under the control of white elected officials in Louisiana. Students took their concerns to President G. Leon Netterville, but received a negative response; they boycotted classes for a month, Governor Edwin Edwards ordered police to make a major presence on campus in a high alert standby.
Student Massacre (06:38)
On November 16, 1972, four students were arrested in their rooms; students asked Netterville to get them out of jail and he complied. Someone called the sheriff’s office and claimed that students were holding Netterville hostage and over 300 heavily armed officers arrived. The police began shooting and killed Denver Smith and Leonard Brown.
Positive Aspects of HBCUs (05:33)
Pictures document black students' struggle for education throughout the years. Students share feelings about attending black colleges.
Decline of HBCUs (05:04)
Many black colleges have not been successful over the last twenty years. Morris Brown College lost accreditation in 2003 and went from 2,500 students to less than 50. Some black colleges are flourishing, like Florida A&M University. Brown vs. Topeka opened the field of choice for black students and faculty.
Credits: Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (01:38)
Credits: Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities
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