Black students in classroom

The influence of HBCU’s and education can be seen in the 105 historically black colleges and universities educating 135,722 male and 238,685 female students across the United States this year alone. A new school year is beginning for HBCU’s, students are preparing to return to schools  across our nation. Students and their families are shopping, packing and scheduling for college or university trips to HBCU campuses either close to home or several hundred miles away. The traveling may be by bus, plane, family car, train, carpooling or other means, the objective is to get students back into school, preparing them for future careers. I have prepared to make sure my son gets back to Florida A&M University to finish his final undergraduate year and preparing him for Graduate school of his choice.

HBCU’s have been preparing for new freshmen and returning students, the process to prepare dorms, cafeterias and other facilities to support higher educational learning is nearing completion. The excitement is rising for a year of educational achievement, progressively striving for the goals of graduating and receiving a degree that was earned with hard work, sacrifice and dedication.
The history of HBCU’s is well known nationally and internationally, the service of Historically Black Colleges and Universities is not praised as much as they should be, this is excepted because HBCU graduates know they receive an education that has prepared them for excellence in their fields of study and passion to positively contribute to mankind like so many from the past.

A growing issue on campuses of HBCU’s are increasing female students. Visually there are more females than men. It is almost eerie to see so many female students and a small mixture of male students. Not only are there smaller numbers of male students, but male students are not graduating in the numbers like female students. To add insult to these academic injuries male students seem to be challenged academically more than females in the important areas of math and reading comprehension. HBCU’s see that Black male students are diminishing , this absence creates a vacuum of educated professional Black men serving as role models to Black males in high schools that strive to obtain higher education, but do not have a mentor or role model in their families or even neighborhoods.
The U.S. Department of Education: the national college graduation rate for Black men is 33.1 percent compared with 44.8 percent for Black women. The total graduation rate is 57.3 percent. Black men represent 7.9 percent of 18 to 24 year olds in America but only 2.8 percent of undergraduates at universities. President Obama has stated that, “HBCUs continue a proud tradition as vibrant centers of intellectual inquiry and engines of scientific discovery and innovation. New waves of students, faculty, and alumni are building on their rich legacies and helping America achieve our goal of once again leading the world in having the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020.”

The question is raised are communities, schools, churches and businesses doing enough to encourage Black males to excel in academics? The school closures in Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit and other cities show that educational resources are diminishing and parents in these communities need support and help. Condemning Black children also are weak Black Churches, what are Black churches doing, what impact does the clergy have in the 21st century educational realm and politics? At one time in history Black churches were the corner stone’s of education, they had schools, tutors and resources.

The discrepancies of attendance and graduation can be seen from data accumulated from the Department of Education where national college graduation rates of Hispanic men is 41.1 percent, Native Americans and Alaska natives 33.8 percent. The comparison in graduation to White males is 54.5 percent. Asian/Pacific Islanders have the highest rate, 60.6 percent, based on their cultural respect for learning and education. If theses discrepancies continue the education gap for Black males will create situations where Black males have less earning. The skill levels will be substantially low not allowing access to higher paying careers, lack of education influences political influence, low socio-economic levels and the in-ability to provide for a family. Because of statistical evidence HBCU’s still play a very vital role in educating Black males especially those that will need additional assistance in reading, literacy, comprehension and mathematics.

An example of the changes in college campuses can be seen at Howard University, undergraduate male enrollment dropped from 3,070 in the 1994-95 academic years to 2,499 during 2009-10. Female enrollment dropped by only 52 students, from 4,958  to 4,906. HBCU’s are still strong in encouraging Black males to attend college by providing services that address both academic and cultural uniqueness.

Complicating these efforts in high schools are the changes in the structure for mandated state assessments, increase in discipline policies at high schools that leave no room for counseling and mentoring. Incarceration policies appear to be the only option if a student makes a bad call in judgment and actions in high school. The key to success of Black male and female students is parental and community involvement. Parents must have a vested interest in their children’s success. The costs of not having a college education is seen in limited job opportunities, reduced earning potential, stunted career  advancement and negative long-term economic and social downturns in the Black community.

Black males need solid careers with competitive wages, without solid incomes and steady careers,
young Black males chances for success diminish greatly. A question asked by Mr.  Lowe from Courageous Conversations Ask A Teacher: “Why are certain elements in American society trying to keep Black children from being educated?” As a graduate of South Carolina State University,  in the area of education I learned the skills to be an effective educator, the support that I received even struggling in math and science allowed me to build  my confidence, abilities and even grow a love for science and mathematics. Inspiring me to obtain years later a Masters of Education degree in Educational Technology and teaching Engineering and
Technology at the elementary level.

“Black men and women need college degrees more than ever.” William Jackson, STEAM Educator Resources should be made available to help Black males be successful in higher education, but starts in public education at elementary schools to high schools. The lack of male role models, mentors and educators does play a role in diminishing enrollment of Black males in higher education. Research on Black males on campuses shows that having supportive relationships with mentors on campus plays a significant and important role in Black male’s success.

Parents as you take your children to college and university take the time to find out about mentoring services, clubs and organizations that can aid in your child’s success in college.  It takes a village to raise leaders and the next generation of college graduates.  The statement “Its more than about buying new clothes,” is important for parents to recognize and understand this school year, Hafeeza B Majeed

Courageous Conversations Ask A Teacher Dialogue:  Listen in about key issues to help students succeed and parents take a more active role. Archived about Common Core, parental involvement and impact on children:

12 thoughts on “The Disappearing Black Man on HBCU Campuses

  1. I think its a good thing that so many Black women are going to school. Black boys definitely need more mentors. How do we fix the problem of the lack of mentors and resources?

  2. Yandy,

    As I was writing this blog I was observing my teaching at the elementary school I teach at.

    It will take a collective effort of schools, parents, churches and businesses to understand that everyone must be involved to help our youth.

    We must get past the “save” attitude and get to the empower and encourage
    attitude for our young men. It is not to late to change the shift in attitudes and behaviors, but there is a lot of work to be done.


  3. Well I was going to ask if you looked at trends for enrollment at Morehouse, then I pulled the numbers for Spelman and it affirms your point.

    Here are their numbers for 2011-2012.

    Applicants 2,194
    Admitted 1,370

    Applicants 5,128
    Admitted 2,009

  4. We lack as a race Father involvement . The foundation of society is the family and the family especially in the Black Community is rapidly vanishing. When we were segregated we had a village that kept the family together . After segregation we lost our way, morals, values and sense of family. Black Men must stand up and be the Head of their households, Husbands and Fathers. God didn’t give parents children but he gave children parents. We are to instill morals, values and equip our children with life skills so they can be productive contributors to society.

  5. Hummmm! This is interesting. The recent post concerning Jay Z and Harry Belafonte attracted 500+ responses. This post–on the plight of black males and higher education–has only netted four. Well, five, if you include this one. Seems the pull toward what entertainers are or are not doing is far greater.

    1. Kysa,

      I’m glad you noticed that. Someone accused me of only posting articles about celebrities. On OurLegaci, we focus on a number of different topics affecting the Black community. It just so happens that people seem to be drawn to the ones that are associated with celebrities. This article by contributor William Jackson, is just as important.

      1. I am going to post this on our NAACP social media pages. More people should chime in on these discussions.

  6. I feel as tho this article definitly deserves more attention then the Jay-Z topic simply because this discusses the details that may help us out of our oppressive situation, not just discussing emotions deviating from issues of FAME. I also feel it is hard for parents to parent today due to societys demands to work. $$ is the new signifier of Life, not health (anymore). We are limited to vacation days, unless our salaray is at a “approved” level. Our programs and community centers have limited resources, the workers are divided between those that care and (careless) those that “have” to work due to the neccessity of $$. The salaries arent desirable, not enough to support families, but can barely support single and/or departed unqualified people in our community. Many educated and qualified people, mentors, activist, etc.. end up in other professions trying to make a living for their family, inturn not allowing them to devote time and energy to those that need them.
    I only speak of this situation because it is an experience. I am a black father, brother, son, college gradtuate, mentor (middle school-collegiate level), former HS teacher, swim/gym trainer at local community center, and I am struggling to stay involved because none of the jobs I possess that devote to empowerment and progression in my community are desirable and or competitive in income to live in my own hometown community(Boston), without additional jobs(creating less time to parent,mentor, or personal development).
    I am highly aware that our communities need assistance, and there is a loooong list of things we can say is the reason for our lack of progression in black communities. My bottom line is that WE NEED EACH OTHER and not the world. Personally speaking, our country and many countries are led by governments and officials that are selfish to themselves and cronies, and have a take over the world, we are the power, do whatever it takes, careless of the less mentality. They are a big gang, and yes lots of things will not work without a govt. or a system in place, so, there must be order and levels to this. But we need to rethink our humanly values, morals, and the reality of living.
    We( the povished) need to help one another, demand help. Give help. Recieve help. Find a mentor. Become a mentor. If your not a mother, help a mother so you can enhance your motherly skills in the meantime and help another mother become a stronger mother. SAME GOES FOR FATHERS. Black communities are quick to turn down a neighbors help, but quick to recieve govt. assistance, that inturn TRAPS you at low economical status(new slaves). In order to continue to recieve assistance you can not improve your lifestyle, or you are immediately disqualified and not able to get back on your feet enough to stand up and compete on higher levels.
    We need to have many more small community recognition parties, celebrating our unity and support for each other, in a world that tries to divide us, for more dividend$. There is no GIVE BACK policy/law in our society, Theres no “I Made it to the top, I’ll reach down and help the next” code of ethics.
    We need to realize american society is built on segregation, once by color of the skin but now by economical class (low class is predominatly BLACK in race). Lets make a stand. I am. Lets Be Clear not Disappear!

    Look forward to more from Mei … and my mentorees. ( Lifestyle101-ManChild Mentoring-Y.E.S Project [Young Entreprenuar Society] )

    Thank you JAM & William Jackson for this article and exposure.

  7. As a father who has a son whose now attending a Catholic High School I have made it a point of stressing to him that he needs to attend a HBCU. For months he was opposed to this until he spoke with some of his school mates and they expressed a desire to attend a HBCU but their parents wouldn’t let them. These classmates also spoke highly of a few schools and he realized many of them were the ones I expressed I wanted him to attend.
    Well, this year for spring break we are visiting Hampton, Howard, North Carolina A&T, Morehouse and Kentucky State. He now has an excitement about attending a HBCU.
    I thank you for this article and I’m going to share it with him.


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