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The Denyce Graves Foundation is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization.
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.
Morgan State University, one of the first four HBCUs to participate in Shared Voices, the flagship program of the Denyce Graves Foundation, is a public, historically black research university in Baltimore, Maryland. It is among the nation's most diverse HBCUs and is one of the few to offer a comprehensive range of degree programs, including the doctorate, in nearly 120 academic disciplines.
The roots of what is now Morgan began in 1864, and the school opened as the Centenary Biblical Institute in 1866. It was originally a Methodist Episcopal seminary established to train free and newly freed young black men in the ministry. It later broadened its mission to educate both men and women as teachers.
The school was renamed as Morgan College in 1890 in honor of the first chairman of its board of trustees, the Reverend Lyttleton Morgan, who donated an endowment and land to the College. Morgan remained a private institution until 1939 when it became Morgan State College after the State of Maryland acquired it. In 1975, it became Morgan State University with its own governing board and was designated Maryland's Public Urban University. Although a public institution, Morgan State is not part of the University System of Maryland.
With its long tradition of choral and instrumental music, Morgan was a fitting choice as one of the first participants in Shared Voices. Notable alumni include Maysa Leak and Deniece Williams as well as Earl G. Graves, Sr., Willie Lanier, the first black linebacker in the NFL, and Kweisi Mfume.
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.