These schools have been and continue to be a critical part of our community's educational journey. Until 1954 when Brown vs Board of Education ended "separate but equal" school systems, HBCUs were the number 1 option for most black students who wanted to attend college. Both my parents and their siblings attended HBCUs, my daughter received her undergraduate degree from an HBCU and my brother received his doctorate from an HBCU.
Today HBCUs, especially the graduate programs, enroll people from all ethnicities and from many different countries, but it is still true that these school serve an important role in the African American community. There are 105 of HBCU schools ( 3% of all U.S. colleges), "they enroll 12% of black college students, produce 23% of all black college graduates, 40% of the nation's black science graduates, and 60% of blacks holding engineering degrees. In addition, it is astounding to learn that currently, 50% of all African-American professionals and public school teachers, 75% of African-American Ph.Ds, 80% of black federal judges, and 85 percent of all African-American doctors matriculated through the HBCU system." (The Grio )
Charles R. Drew University a few miles north of us is a HBCU. It is the only university in the United States that has the dual designation of HBCU and Hispanic Serving Health Professions.
Charles Drew is best know as a medical school designed to train physicians interested in working in urban environments. They also offer degrees in radiology, pharmacy, and physicians assistants.
Two members of our committee had the opportunity to meet with the President of Charles Drew University, Dr. David M. Carlisle.M.D., Ph.D last week. We were there to ask if he thought a group like ours could provide support for students enrolled at Drew? He gave us a resounding yes and we had some time to talk about some of the ideas from our committee discussions.
He gave us a tour of the campus and left feeling that this campus would be a great place to direct our energies to support students who need just a little more help to stay engaged and finish their college education.