From Publishers Weekly
For those who would question the continued need for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in a "post–civil rights era," Williams (Eyes on the Prize
), a senior correspondent for NPR, and Ashley, president of the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, offer this celebration of those institutions. Beginning with a look at newly freed African-Americans' yearnings for education and the Freedman's Bureau's early attempts to gauge the need (and support) for black schools, the authors move forward to profile the 100-plus HBCUs operating today. They highlight the many HBCU students who rose to prominence, from the Harlem Renaissance's brilliant Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston to the present day's media superstars Oprah Winfrey and Ed Bradley, filmmaker Spike Lee and political leaders David Dinkins and Vernon Jordan. They argue that HBCUs "were often hubs for African American communities, with black-owned businesses springing up to serve the students... [and staff] making their homes around the schools" and suggest that "HBCUs are the heart of black political thinking, art, and culture." Filled with history and anecdote, this volume offers a walk through the past and a peek at the future of America through the gift of HBCUs and their graduates. Photos.
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Given the obstacles to educating slaves and freedmen, historically black colleges and universities have defied the notion that blacks could not or should not be educated. The authors provide the historical context for the yearning for education to advance the individual and the race. They trace the origins of black colleges and universities and the influences of abolitionists, black churches, white missionaries, and philanthropists from the colonial era, through the Port Royal experiment on the eve of the Civil War, through Reconstruction. The debate between W. E. B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington, pitting liberal arts against vocational education, influenced the emphasis of black colleges for generations to come, even as institutions faced changes wrought by desegregation, the civil rights movement, and the black power movement. The book includes brief sketches of the 108 colleges and universities as well as brief profiles of their more prominent graduates, including Martin Luther King Jr and Oprah Winfrey. Photographs, historical narrative, and archival materials add to the value of this important resource. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved