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Black History Month Reflection Series

Week Three: HBCUs

This week we are learning more about the importance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). On February 25th the Black Student Union (BSU) at Sharon High School (SHS) is hosting a presentation and panel discussion focused on Black excellence and highlighting the role of HBCUs. We are excited to follow their lead and share a guest post from Karina Dessalines, Vice President of the BSU at SHS, and learn about the significance of HBCUs.

In honor of Black History Month, the Black Student Union decided to make the theme of this year's presentation about Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the rich history behind them.

The oldest HBCU, Cheyney University, was founded in 1837 when many Blacks were not allowed to enroll in White colleges and universities. Since then, 107 HBCUs have been formed across the country and have produced many accomplished professionals. Vice President Kamala Harris, who attended Howard University; Oprah Winfrey, who attended Tennessee State University; and the late Chadwick Boseman, who also attended Howard University. HBCUs provide an excellent opportunity for Black students to meet other students of color, feel safe and comfortable in an intimate environment, and have access to various traditional and cultural curriculum and programs of studies.

Black Greek Letter organizations are another opportunity HBCUs and Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) provide for students to join; however, there was a time when Black students were not allowed to join social or academic clubs at PWIs. As a result, Black students decided to form their own organizations. The first historically Black fraternity was founded at Cornell University in 1906, called Alpha Phi Alpha. Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first sorority, was later established at Howard University in 1908. Seven more fraternities and sororities would be formed and called the Divine 9, reflecting the nine historically Black sororities and fraternities. These organizations are deeply committed to sister and brotherhood as well community service.

Please join the Black Student Union, HBCUs alumni, and members of the Divine 9 for a presentation and panel discussion on Thursday, February 25th.

We encourage you to attend the BSU’s event to learn more about the importance of HBCUs and Black greek life. The panel featured at this event will be comprised of HBCU graduates, members of the Divine 9, and descendants of Sarah Roberts. We are excited to learn about different areas of Black excellence from HBCUs and greek life to the local history of Sarah Roberts.


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