Student Perspective

Many wonder why is it important for African-American youth to attend historically black colleges and universities. Some think HBCUS are unnecessary. Others fear the type of education given in these institutions. 

Every year students at HBCUs get experiences that students at predominantly white institutions don’t get . Not to fault PWIs, but HBCUs were created to educate students from underserved and diverse areas into well rounded young professionals. 

With that in mind,  HBCU educators make the most of all opportunities to educate students.   

One recent example happened the weekend the GSU football team faced off against Alabama State. The football team, students and staff each separately visited the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama. Students, including myself, better understood the challenges faced in March from Selma to Montgomery.

Students literally walked in the footsteps of their torch bearers. It was an opportunity for students to relive part of the Civil Rights battle. 

Standing at the base of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, you cannot see what lies on the other side. The protesters could not see what lay ahead, but with courage and dignity they marched across. They were greeted with dogs, clubs and hoses, but they continued on through all of the barriers.

Last year, the impactful march was developed into a movie titled Selma. The film  chronicled the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., during the Civil Rights movement in 1964, which prompted President Johnson to sign the Voting Rights Act that same year.

The film was a poignant and honest depiction of the brave and dedicated men and women who risked their lives in the fight for equal rights. 

And shortly after, in the wake of such an impactful movie, citizens, community leaders and students across the nation joined together to march in remembrance of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on  his national holiday.

Nevertheless, HBCU students are able to experience poignant lessons that grow them not only as a student, but as an African American student. 

Movies and reading about events like this are important, but it’s not enough to only appreciate such monumental things from a distance. Taking a step into history gives deeper insight into the what our elders, saw, heard and thought.

These experiences are important, because they give African American students something positive and impactful that relates to them, and created change. Students need to learn the history of their own culture in order to be confident in themselves — and their race. 

Historically Black Colleges and Universities use history of African Americans to teach, encourage, and produce positive and successful young Black professionals.

Regina Love is a senior mass communication major from Kansas City, Mo.