Page 2 - Florida Sentinel 2-26-21
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   The 2020 Election Put Renewed Focus On The Importance And Significance Of HBCUs
 BY MONIQUE STAMPS Sentinel Staff Writer
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have long been the backbone of African American excel- lence. The majority of HBCUs were founded following the Civil War and were concen- trated in the South. Prior to the Civil War, American col- leges and universities were ex- clusively white. After the Civil War, most colleges either dis- qualified Black students or limited Black enrollment.
In the South, Blacks were completely prohibited from attending institutions of higher learning for a cen- tury. For many years in the United States, HBCUs were the only opportunity for Blacks to receive advanced ed- ucation.
As the world changed and integration became the prac- tice of the day, a lot of our col-
leges suffered from financial neglect by both private foun- dations and the government. They have small endowments. However, according to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), 25% of African American graduates with STEM degrees come from HBCUs and 46% of Black women who earned degrees in STEM disciplines between 1995 and 2004.
Recently, in light of Black Lives Matters (BLM) and so- cial justice movements, we have seen a significant growth in philanthropy for HBCUs. Over the summer of 2020, millions of dollars poured into HBCUs from wealthy donors. More importantly, the emer- gence of prominent HBCU graduates like Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, (Howard Univer- sity); Stacey Abram, (Spel- man College) and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bot-
toms (Florida A&M Univer- sity) are real-life examples of the quality of education at HBCUs.
The real story is that in ad- dition to the education, it is the support and familial feel- ings that come from being somewhere where you are cel- ebrated and are not perceived as “other.”
As a Spelman graduate myself, I know the comforting and fulfilling experiences in the enduring friendships that come from a HBCU. There are many traditions at HBCUs that immediately engage its students from the day they ar- rive on campus. At Spelman, all freshmen are assigned a junior that will be her big sis- ter for the next two years, then the little sister becomes a big sister for a freshman. Many, many Spelman graduates like me are still close to my big sis- ter and little sister to this day.
HBCUs are essential to the
growth of Black excellence. In a world where Black people are judged by generations of institutional racism, HBCUs offer the calm amid a storm. They are a place where young Black people have room to ex- plore and discover who they are without fear of racial judgement.
I talked to a diverse group of people on their views of HBCUs and the importance of keeping these 107 institutions serving 228,000 students open and running at the high- est quality possible.
President of Tampa Alumni Association for Bethune- Cookman University
“There are moments that are like a flashlight and shine a light on certain things, such as the premiere of ‘A Different World’ that was so popular and raised the awareness of the HBCUs in the late ’80s and early ‘90s.
“Colin Kaepernik and the social consciousness that reemerged last summer was another flashpoint. These schools serve a purpose and have a value to our young chil-
dren. The real questions are: how are we treated, how are we valued, and how are we seen? Anytime we start asking these questions, HBCUs are at the center of the conversation. If we are not seen, valued, and treated well, we know that we will be at an HBCU. We mat- ter.”
Former FAMU National Alumni Association and Governmental Affairs chairwoman
“As a people, we have failed to recognize what we have and have not been valu- ing the HBCU experience. Our athletes attend school, play a sport and graduate. Predomi- nately white institutions (PWI) do not care if our ath- letes do not graduate or only stay a year, there is always an- other player to take their place.
“HBCUs offer students a home environment that nur- tures them when they are away from home. They are en- couraged to be successful. Once they graduate, they are ready to go to a PWI for grad-
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 Attention Former Tampa Park Residents
On Friday, February 26th, the county funding program for former Tampa Park residents will end.
If you met with Solita’s House, or a county em- ployee prior to moving and have not received your allotted funding, please contact: Jody Jenk- ins 813-274-6648 or Cheryl Howell @ 813 955- 3278.

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