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WHAT IS AN HBCU?
They are institutions of higher education in the U. S. that were established prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans, and that are accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting entity. The first HBCUs (Cheyney University, Lincoln University and Wilberforce University) were established before 1861, but most were founded after the American Civil War in the Southern U.S. during the period of Reconstruction (1863-1877).
After Reconstruction, in the era of segregation prior to the Civil Rights Act, the majority of institutions of higher education served predominantly white students and disqualified or limited enrollment by black students. For a century after the end of slavery in the U.S. in 1865, most colleges and universities in the South prohibited any Blacks from attending, while institutions in other parts of the country regularly employed quotas to limit admissions of Blacks.
Currently, there are 107 HBCUs in the country in 19 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, including both public and private institutions.
HBCUs have experienced an 11% increase in enrollment in recent decades that continued even during the pandemic, and almost 340,00 students presently attend HBCUs. Among many notable graduates of HBCUs are Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Toni Morrison, Thurgood Marshall, Spike Lee and Kamala Harris.
Morehouse College, a private, historically black men's college in Atlanta, Georgia, is one of the principal participants in Shared Voices, the Denyce Graves Foundation's flagship program. As the largest men's liberal arts college in the United States, Morehouse offers Bachelor's degrees in a wide range of majors such as Art History, Computer Science, Journalism in Sports, Culture and Social Justice, and Music, including voice.
Founded in 1867 as Augusta Institute by the Reverend William Jefferson White, the institution was created to educate black men for careers in ministry and teaching following the American Civil War. The school moved to Atlanta in 1879 and, subsequently in 1897, was renamed Morehouse College in honor of Henry Lyman Morehouse, an officer of the American Baptist Home Mission.
In the early 1900s, the school introduced a liberal arts curriculum, which increased its enrollment and academic stature. Morehouse was an original member of the Atlanta University Center Consortium along with Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, and Morehouse School of Medicine (which became independent from Morehouse in 1981). Over the years, the school has produced eleven Fulbright Scholars, five Marshall, and five Rhodes Scholars and notable alumni include Samuel L. Jackson, Spike Lee, Edwin Moses, and Dr. Louis Sullivan.
Morehouse shares a deep commitment to racial justice with the Denyce Graves Foundation. The school has played a key role in the development of the civil rights movement and racial equality in the United States, and it is the alma mater of African-American civil rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Julian Bond, and Senator Rafael Warnock.
Your generous donation to the Denyce Graves Foundation supports our efforts in bringing Shared Voices to more of our nation’s vocal arts programs, to enrich the lives of more students, and help encourage a cultural landscape within the vocal arts at American universities that reflects the diverse world in which we live.