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I Love My HBCU|By Kalimah Muhammad: Spelman College

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I Love My HBCU

The relevance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities has constantly come under fire. Regardless of what others think, the HBCU experience is a valuable one.

By Kalimah Muhammad in Scene on Jun 29, 2015

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“The Odyssey” – I Love My HBCU by Kalimah Muhammad: Original Publishing Date January 29th, 2015

My parents met as students at Howard University. While living in DC, I attended middle school on Howard’s campus. I also participated in Summer Bridge at Howard. My aunt graduated from Spelman College. I have been groomed to attend a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). But during my senior year of high school, while living in California, I had decided to attend a college in Oregon, which is 70 percent white.

635707074092343631197389909_IMG_1103.imgopt1000x70.imgopt500x65My dad supported my decision to attend school in Oregon, which would also be significantly less costly for him. But, everyone else in my family pressured me to reconsider. After signing a commitment to attend college in Oregon, I traveled to Atlanta to tour Spelman. What began as a simple vacation turned into a life-changing event; I was sold. I decided to not return home to California. I made the decision to become a ‘Spelmanite.’ After my first year at Spelman, I knew I made the right decision.

A 1992 Supreme Court Case (U.S. vs. Fordice) threatened the existence of HBCUs, mandating that an “educational justification” must be found by state legislatures to justify race specific colleges.” The Supreme Court held that states with officially, sanctioned segregated schools with higher education systems must do more to encourage neutral race admission.

Due to this question of “educational justification”, a study was conducted on African-American lawyers who graduated from HBCUs. According to the study, “approximately 80 percent of our nation’s African-American judges and 50 percent of its African-American attorneys were educated at HBCUs.” Several other studies have found that HBCUs are responsible for 22 percent of current bachelor’s degrees granted to Blacks. Additionally, 65 percent of Black physicians, 40 percent of Black congressmen, 12.5 percent of Black CEOs, and 40 percent of Black engineers all came from HBCUs. Even half of all professors who teach at colleges and universities that are not historically Black, hail from a HBCU.

Although it was taken into account, the numbers of my college’s post-baccalaureate performance were not the reason for my choice. I decided to attend Spelman because of the indescribable moments I had in just the first ten days I spent on campus. I knew that I would gain unforgettable experiences in my next four years.

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I loved the sense of unbreakable sisterhood. I loved that everyone looked like me. Everyone had similar experiences in life as a black girl growing up in white America. I liked that there was a feeling of concern and a vested interest in me as a young, black woman. At Spelman there is a community designed with me in mind, a program designed to help me succeed in life.

At HBCUs you are in a community surrounded by Black people trying to improve themselves and trying to improve their communities. Although nearly everyone may come from the same race, there is still diversity within their background, their upbringing, their values, religion, and more. In fact, the great diversity is one of my favorite aspects of Spelman. I have made incredible friends, I have been inspired, I have learned much, and I have had extraordinary experiences – all because I am at a historically black college!Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 11.20.18 AM

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