Acad. Quest. (2009) 22:327–339 DOI 10.

1007/s12129-009-9116-8 A RT I C L E S

Taking the Pulse of Historically Black Colleges
Sheldon Avery

Published online: 4 July 2009 # Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

The federal Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, defines a “historically” black institution of higher education as “any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principle mission was, and is, the education of black Americans.”1 They are usually referred to as HBCUs. Most private black colleges originated in the nineteen southern and border states after the Civil War during and after Reconstruction (1867–1890). They were started by white northern missionaries and white and black church groups, aided in the early years by the Freedmen’s Bureau, and in the later years by white philanthropic foundations funded by Nelson Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Julius Rosenwald, and others. Most public black colleges, with the exception of federally funded Howard University, were started after passage of the Second Morrill Act in 1890 that provided federal funds for land grant colleges. Over time many black colleges closed or changed their mission and curricula, and others were established. In 1900 only about 4,000 black college students were enrolled in HBCUs, the great majority in the South. Because of the prohibition against educating slaves before 1865 and the meager resources provided for black education during Reconstruction, by 1900 only fifty-eight of the ninety-nine HBCUs had college-level curricula,
1 Signed into U.S. law on November 8, 1965, the Higher Education Act of 1965 (Pub. L. No. 89-329), was part of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society domestic agenda. The act was reauthorized in 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1986, 1992, 1998, and 2008. Before each reauthorization, Congress amends additional programs, changes the language and policies of existing programs, or makes other changes. Current authorization expires at the end of 2013.

Sheldon Avery is professor of history, Harford Community College, Bel Air, MD 21015; He is the author of Up From Washington: William Pickens and the Negro Struggle for Equality, 1900–1954 (University of Delaware Press, 1989).

Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma. Ferguson. chap. 347 U. slightly more than half private. since the 1950s HBCUs have felt insecure about their future. 631 (1948).”2 Today there are about 103 HBCUs. 483 (1954).S.S. 169 Md. 332 U. 537 (1896). Ferguson. “Fact Sheet. Missouri (1938). 337 (1938). Due to the South’s dual racial education system before the 1950s. Together they have graduated about 70 percent of all blacks who have received a college degree since the nation’s founding. http://give. 629 (1950). “Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Honoring the Past. . Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Their Place in American Higher Education (Westport.. On May 24.000 and HBCUs began to develop into a viable higher education system. 305 U. Touching the Future. the U. Murray. no.6 Although the NAACP won all these cases. and 35 percent of all black attorneys received their bachelor’s degrees at an HBCU. Painter. for a good. HBCUs were the overwhelming source “for an educated middle class of lawyers. teachers. Although today only about 14 percent of black college students attend HBCUs. the rest public. 3 (Summer 2007): 263–80. 1954. 70 percent of all black doctors and AEOS_about_uncf_factsheet.pdf?docID=541. and a few two-year institutions.5 the 1896 ruling that made segregated public railway cars (and by extension all public facilities) constitutional if they were “separate but equal” in some undefined way. Board of Education. 2. Roebuck and Komanduri S. the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had been seeking integration of public schools through court cases challenging Plessy by representing individual black students seeking access to segregated law schools in Maryland (1935). University of Maryland v. Board of Education. 4 5 6 Brown v. the Supreme 2 See Julian B. Murty. Engaging the Present.S.uncf. 1993). Missouri ex rel Gaines v.S. Between 1900 and 1930 black student enrollment had expanded to 29. Oklahoma (1948) and Texas (1950). Plessy v. doctors. 339 U. Another solid synopsis of the history of HBCUs is Walter R. 3 United Negro College Fund.” revised February 2008. Sweatt v. Since 1935.S. Canada. brief history of HBCUs. Supreme Court announced its decision in the school desegregation case Brown v.4 This landmark case has influenced contemporary American social and political history more than any other in the last half century by overturning Plessy v.3 Despite that record. Allen et al. Plessy and the segregated land grant colleges set up in the South by the Second Morrill Act gave legitimacy to the white South’s public separation of the races.328 Avery and only 10 percent of black students were in postsecondary academic programs. Sipuel v.S. 478 (1936).” Journal of Negro Education 76. 163 U. CN: Praeger. 50 percent of all black engineers and public school teachers. and leaders to serve the black community.

” Journal of Higher Education 72. “Collegiate Desegregation and the Public Black College: A New Policy Mandate. anticipated the Court’s decision and was ready to challenge any attempt to shut down HBCUs. Formed in 1944 by twenty-seven private accredited four-year HBCUs to coordinate fundraising from white and black supporters of black higher education to raise money to provide scholarships. For ten years it had promoted its member colleges and HBCUs in 7 See M. Morehouse. an association of most of the private HBCUs. improve facilities. 1 (January/February 2001): 46–62. UNCF could speak as one voice for some of the best known and most respected HBCUs—Fisk.” Academe 93. Kenneth Jost. They feared the Court would extend the rejection of the “separate but equal” doctrine to all public colleges and universities in the South and that many black students at public and private HBCUs would choose or transfer to predominantly white public universities (PWIs) because of their superior facilities. 2003): 1045– 68. and comparable tuition costs..” the Warren Court unanimously overturned Plessy and announced that racially separate schools were “inherently unequal” and therefore unconstitutional. no. but a number of HBCU presidents and others with connections to these southern and border state institutions were concerned that the Court’s decision to desegregate all elementary and secondary schools could also be used to integrate or eliminate HBCUs. no.Taking the Pulse of Historically Black Colleges 329 Court had not overturned Plessy because none of the states involved had provided anything remotely resembling equal facilities for black students. . and use the media to promote HBCUs. and Mary Beth Gasman et. In Brown. training. Christopher Brown II. and salaries—were close enough to those conditions for white students that the judges had to rule on the constitutionality of the “separate but equal” doctrine itself. The Brown decision was hailed by most blacks and whites who opposed what were called “Jim Crow” laws. no. equipment. al. Based in large measure on the testimony of black psychologist Kenneth Clark’s contention that requiring the separation of black and white students in schools (and potentially in institutions of higher learning) created a sense of inferiority among minority blacks and violated their Fourteenth Amendment right to “equal protection before the law.7 The United Negro College Fund (UNCF). 43 (December 12. “Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Recent Trends. Dillard—but faced a dilemma following the Brown decision. teacher preparation. program offerings. Spelman. 1 (January/February 2007): 1–9. the Court dealt with a situation in Kansas where conditions for black students—school buildings. “Black Colleges: Do They Still Have an Important Role?” CQ Researcher 13.

10 The Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave the executive branch tools needed to enforce the Brown decision.L. 241. Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U. Board of Education II. and culturally. But in the 1960s conditions dramatically changed in U. staging protests against Jim Crow laws and the Vietnam War. no.330 Avery general as superior to PWIs for black students academically. Fisk. 1964). the Higher Education Act of 1965. race relations. the emergence of radical black groups like the Nation of Islam and Black Panthers demanding “black power”. Under the leadership of Lyndon Johnson.” History of Education Quarterly 44. Congress responded to southern states’ resistance and delaying tactics to civil rights reforms by passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. During the same period. but also demanding more of a voice on 8 Mary Beth Gasman. the transition would take an “indefinite period” of time to complete. which allowed the government to withhold federal funds from colleges and universities that were resisting desegregation. socially. 294 (1955). and Jackson State. the slow rate of social change brought major race riots.C.9 This tactic worked for a while. like North Carolina A & T. But now the Court was saying that segregated schools were inherently inferior for minority students. and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub.S. § 1973–1973aa-6). 9 Brown v. 10 . The Higher Education Act of 1965 provided federal funds to help economically disadvantaged students attend college. and students on HBCU campuses. psychologically. would that alter the HBCUs social and academic environment and undermine their basic mission to provide black students quality education and racial uplift?8 UNCF’s solution was necessarily pragmatic. 1 (Spring 2004): 70–94. 78 Stat. they argued that. How could UNCF spokesman reconcile these messages? Would white business leaders stop supporting UNCF? Would black students abandon HBCUs? If UNCF members and public HBCUS began actively recruiting white students to compensate for likely diminished black enrollment. July 2. Corporate donations to UNCF held steady and few blacks successfully enrolled in southern public PWIs.S. 88-352. Seemingly accepting the inevitability of desegregated higher education in the South. 349 U. Reality: The Fundraising Messages of the United Negro College Fund in the Immediate Aftermath of the Brown Decision. given the southern states’ historic opposition to desegregation. including Title VI. echoing the Warren Court’s ambiguous call in 1955 for the states to use “all deliberate speed” to carry out desegregation of the schools. “Rhetoric vs.

Black higher education enrollments significantly increased when black war veterans took advantage of the G. 6 (September 20. no. Their research generally found that in most quantitative and qualitative outcomes (e.. In support of these financial demands. In parts of the South public PWIs were beginning to accept more black students. Mikyoung Minsu Kim and Clifton F.” Research in Higher Education 47. Laura W. 2007): 1–12. 2 (March 2000): 197–228. although black enrollments in higher education grew. “Are Historically Black Colleges Worth It?” Diverse Issues in Higher Education 24.I. Supreme Court. Outside the South public PWIs were integrated and generally welcomed qualified black students even before affirmative action took root. Many HBCU presidents followed their students lead and became more militant. Harold Wenglinsky. As a result.” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analyses 181 (Spring 1996): 91–103.” Research in Higher Education 47. Conrad. founded in 1960 mostly by black students from many HBCUs in support of Dr. retention and graduation rates. transfers to graduate and professional schools.g. black scholars began to publish research on conditions at HBCUs. and allow a small number of high-achieving black students to “desegregate” PWIs. Bill and others joined the second black migration from the South to northern cities for better paying jobs and escape from southern-style racism.Taking the Pulse of Historically Black Colleges 331 campuses and in black communities. positive interaction with students and faculty) black students seemed to be doing better at HBCUs despite insufficient financial support from southern state legislatures. especially on how black HBCU students fared in comparison to black PWI students. Perna et.. King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference.11 During the stormy late 1960s and early 1970s the issue of desegregating HBCUs seemed to fade into the background. “The Educational Justification for Historically Black Colleges and Universities: A Policy Response to the U. supporting black studies courses and demanding greater equity in funding for black colleges from state legislatures and the federal government. Martin Luther King’s non-violent civil rights movement. 4 (June 2006): 399–427.S. The federal government was not pressuring southern PWIs to do more than introduce race-neutral admission standards. Dwayne Ashley. no. the percentage of blacks at See. no. al. “The Impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities on the Academic Success of African-American Students. A series of actions by the federal government was dramatically altering black enrollments in higher education and at HBCUs. But HBCUs were experiencing another threat to their survival. “The Status of Equity for Black Undergraduates in Public Higher Education in the South: Still Separate and Unequal. 11 . Even the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. eventually turned to greater militancy and public protest beyond tactics supported by Dr.

S. In 1969 the Department of Health. the Court made clear that freedom of choice plans satisfied Brown and Brown II only if they did not produce a white or a black school. 14 Green School Board v. by 1968 that number dropped to 36 percent. Is Separate Unequal? Black Colleges and the Challenge of Desegregation (Lawrence. even before the Brown decision. most of the ten states ignored HEW’s request. 13 Albert L. and Louisville Municipal College. forced the 12 Kenneth E. . possibly resulting in the loss of many HBCUs. and by 1976 to just 18 percent. In the early 1960s. 70. KS: University Press of Kansas.”14 HBCU supporters were concerned that the Court would apply Green’s endorsement of full integration to higher education and insist that southern states merge their public colleges and universities. Redd.13 Frustrated with the slow pace of school desegregation in the South. Samuels. In Green. the Supreme Court ruled in Green School Board v. which had become independent of the NAACP in 1957. “Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Making a Comeback. were suffering from administrative mismanagement. aging facilities.” New Directions for Higher Education 102 (Summer 1998): 33–43. 391 U. New Kent County in 1968 that the county’s freedom of choice plan—whereby parents could send their children to either the black or white elementary and high school in that rural eastern Virginia county—was ineffective in ending segregation because no white parents had chosen the black schools and very few blacks had chosen the white schools. 430 (1986). more than 70 percent of all black students attended HBCUs. In 1970 the Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF). and accreditation problems. 2004). a black college nearby. the University of Kentucky had in 1951 opened all its programs to qualified blacks. was shut down and all but one of its eighteen black faculty dismissed. The Court was now demanding that school boards do their “affirmative duty” to desegregate their dual school systems. those averaging less than one thousand students.332 Avery HBCUs dropped dramatically. For example. There was still reason to fear that federal courts would use Brown to force HBCUs to merge with nearby public PWIs or be closed down to speed up the desegregation process. New Kent County.12 In addition to declining enrollments. Education and Welfare (HEW) notified ten southern and border states that they were still in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and called for each to submit desegregation plans. “but just a school. Because newly elected president Richard Nixon dropped use of the threat to suspend federal funds to states that did not comply. a number of the smaller HBCUs.

The Adams cases were dismissed when the U. Historically Black Colleges. later renamed Rust College.17 Mississippi was one of ten states challenged by Adams to present HEW with a workable desegregation plan for higher education. 717 (1992). Samuels. In 1975. a landmark case in desegregating higher education that took more than two decades to be resolved. partly because a student’s choice of school was more a factor in higher education. .S. In 1974 HEW accepted most of the plans. Fordice. Richardson.16 The Adams cases did not resolve any of the outstanding legal issues but were important for two reasons. 49–51.Taking the Pulse of Historically Black Colleges 333 issue by suing HEW for failing to enforce Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. and Tougaloo Normal and Manual Training School) and was the first 15 16 17 Adams v. which the conflicting positions taken by the LDF and NAFEO briefs in the Adams cases reflect. a group of black Mississippians dissatisfied with the inconclusive outcome of Adams filed a class action suit against the Office of Civil Rights of the federal Department of Education. 92. On the first matter. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington. 505 U. Is Separate Unequal? 77. The NAACP/LDF leadership did not believe HBCUs would ever get the funding necessary to compete with white colleges. the underlying difference between the positions of the LDF/NAACP and the NAFEO was that the former were committed to full integration while the latter was more interested in protecting HBCUs and preserving a viable black culture.DC 1973). 365 F. it became clear in Adams that the federal courts were treating desegregation in higher education differently from elementary and secondary schools. In Adams v. Roebuck and Murty.15 the LDF was joined by the National Association for Equal Educational Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO). Adams evolved into United States v. Fordice. Second. ordered the states to submit desegregation plans to HEW. DC.S. formed in 1969 by black public and private college presidents working together for the first time to lobby for greater state and federal funding for HBCUs. 84–87. First. Over time. Although by 1870 Mississippi had two private black colleges (Shaw University. United States v. Supp. NAFEO leaders feared integration would lead to the demise of HBCUs. 94 (D. a class action suit against HEW for permitting a dual racial system of higher education in the states. it revealed deep differences about integration within the black community. The state had the worst record of response to Brown. Richardson (1970–1973).

822 F2d 58 (1987). when whites regained political control after Reconstruction in 1877 Mississippi reduced Alcorn’s status to a vocational college and drastically cut its funding. Mississippi’s five public white universities resisted accepting any black students until James Meredith won access to the University of Mississippi in 1961.18 When HEW accepted Mississippi’s desegregation plan in 1974. In 1987 the case came to trial and the federal district court ruled that Mississippi was in compliance. a modern form of state nullification of federal law. The state of Mississippi claimed it had come into compliance with Brown by increasing funding for the HBCUs. which had joined the private plaintiffs in negotiating with state authorities. the district court decision was upheld.19 The plaintiffs in Ayers were primarily interested in two legal issues raised by Brown not yet resolved by the courts: Were Mississippi’s HBCUs legal. Is Separate Unequal? 98–102. and raising “mission designation” for Jackson State to allow it almost as many master’s and doctorate programs as the three PWIs. They filed a class action suit. Ayers v. but in 18 19 Samuels. Ayers v. By 1900 blacks represented 60 percent of Mississippi’s students at all levels. Waller. in January 1975. On appeal to a full Fifth Circuit Appeals Court in 1990. After the Brown decision in 1954 Mississippi became the first state to create a segregationist Citizen’s Council and use interposition. when Jackson State University (1940) and Mississippi Valley State University (1946) were established. . Meredith had to be escorted to campus by 16. Alcorn was Mississippi’s only black public college until the World War II era.S. Department of Justice.334 Avery southern state to create a black public land grant college (Alcorn University in 1871). a group of Mississippi’s black leaders in the Black Mississippians’ Council for Higher Education were greatly dissatisfied with the state’s limited reforms. Waller. but received only 19 percent of state funding. to resist school integration. introducing race-neutral student admission standards at all public universities by using American College Test (ACT) scores. agreed that the Mississippi plan did not meet HEW’s criteria for desegregating higher education. and ensuing riots led to several deaths and hundreds wounded. The U. and if so could they demand major financial enhancements from the state and federal government to catch up with the state’s PWIs? The answers to these questions would likely affect black higher education throughout the South.000 federal troops.

was also concerned by Judge White’s remark. “is a different question.” he added. Is Separate Unequal? 98–102. the Black Mississippians’ Council was very disturbed by Judge White’s merger suggestion. . Judge White had made clear that if the plaintiffs demand for upgrading the three black universities “was so that they may be publicly financed. Is Separate Unequal? 130.. Ibid. “[A] State does not discharge its constitutional obligations until it eradicates policies and practices traceable to its prior de jure dual system that continue to foster segregation. Ibid. thirty-six years after Brown. 136–7.” Judge 20 Samuels.”23 “Whether such an increase in funding is necessary to achieve a full dismantlement under the standards we have outlined” he added. “It would be ironic. “if the institutions that sustained blacks during segregation were themselves destroyed in an effort to combat its vestiges. They were reminded again of HBCUs’ insecure status after Brown.Taking the Pulse of Historically Black Colleges 335 April 1991 the Supreme Court agreed to hear appeals to the Ayers case.”21 White pointed out that neither the ACT race-neutral admissions standard nor the revised mission designation resulted in significant desegregation of Mississippi’s eight public universities..20 In 1992.”22 Judge Thomas did not join the Black Mississippians’ Council in criticizing the Court for rejecting the plaintiffs demand for financial enhancements. the only black member of the Supreme Court. When it finally reached the Supreme Court. now named United States v. exclusively black enclaves by private choice. the Rehnquist Supreme Court overturned the Appeals Court and ruled that Mississippi had not taken adequate measures to desegregate higher education in the state and sent the case back to the federal district court with suggestions for what had to be done to be in compliance. Fordice. Although the High Court had not ruled that desegregation of higher education required the full integration of colleges. In his majority opinion. 112 S. Ct. Fordice. In a concurring opinion. United States v. He suggested the state facilitate desegregation by merging or closing some of the schools. 2727 (1992). the Ayers case lasted so long that its name changed several times. 139. he emphasized the positive impact HBCUs had on blacks through more than a century since the Civil War. 21 22 23 Samuels. Judge Byron White said. to say the least. and one that needs to be addressed on remand. Kirk Fordice was governor of Mississippi. we reject that request. Judge Clarence Thomas.

the Court had not made clear that HBCUs were constitutional and had hinted at the need for merging or closing some of them to move desegregation forward. the Court had rejected the argument for requiring financial enhancements. the Mississippi higher education Board of Trustees filed a report with the federal district court listing a number of ways the state could comply with the desegregation order. the Court had sent the case back to the federal district court without very specific instructions. It would take another fourteen years for that consensus to develop.336 Avery Thomas agreed with Judge White. the district judge working with state officials and leaders of the black community would be in a better position to reach agreement on how to bring about desegregation and improved race relations. four months after the Fordice ruling. The High Courts that dealt with Brown and Fordice thirty years apart had very different personnel and perspectives—the Warren Court more liberal on social issues. The Warren Court called for “all deliberate speed. One of the remedies involved a radical restructuring of the eight public universities. to compensate HBCUs for generations of underfunding. but made the important point that the states could provide greater financial enhancements if they wished. Knowing that what happened in Mississippi would influence other southern states and that the High Court could not impose a uniform list of desegregation criteria for all noncompliant states. the Rehnquist Court more conservative—but both shared an important view of the Court’s role in the legal and political life of the country. and both refrained from pushing the changes they had wrought too quickly. black educators and their supporters were disappointed with three aspects of the decision. HBCU supporters were not optimistic about the long-range impact of Fordice on black higher education. and black Alcorn State with white . First. Second.” knowing that the South would resist strongly and possibly violently and that the federal government would have to move forward cautiously to bring improvement in race relations. Both Brown and Fordice decisions broke new ground in responding to deeply rooted racial beliefs and attitudes. Although many supporters of civil rights celebrated Fordice as a landmark victory in the struggle to desegregate higher education because it put greater pressure on the states to comply with affirmative reform. The plan would reduce the number of schools to five by merging black Mississippi Valley State with white Delta State. In October 1992. The Rehnquist Court made the same decision in sending the case back to the district court. or reparations. Third and most important to the private plaintiffs.

or as a scare tactic to get blacks to drop their demands for financial enhancements. The court rejected open admissions but ordered that high school grade point averages be added to ACT scores for raceneutral admissions to all eight universities. Mississippi University for Women and the University of Southern Mississippi. and other changes in the desegregation plan being considered by the district court. a $70 million endowment (if the three schools achieved 10 percent nonblack enrollment for three consecutive years). including more than $500 million over seventeen years in financial enhancements. In June 2000 newly elected governor Ronnie Musgrove brought together blacks and whites involved in the case to work on a settlement.”24 Specifically. $75 million for new facilities. Ibid.25 24 25 Ibid. 194. programs and would join Mississippi’s three predominantly white universities as a top-tier “comprehensive” institution.25 million scholarship fund for low-income families. Relieved that the immediate threat of shutting down two HBCUs was removed. making it “the most expensive higher education desegregation in American history.. . The appeals court upheld the lower court’s plan and. in January 1998. like most of the deep southern states.D. if the district court approved. In April 2001 an agreement was reached. would give the HBCUs most of what they had demanded. 190. claiming the money was insufficient and that without open admissions 40 percent of academically disadvantaged black applicants would be denied access to higher education. the Supreme Court denied the plaintiffs’ petition for writ of certiorari. Black educators saw this as a move to eliminate all public black colleges in Mississippi except for Jackson State. In 1994 the district judge rejected the merger idea and ordered Mississippi to create new programs for Jackson State and Alcorn State and provide both with five million dollars for “educational advancement and racial diversity. which. was being slowly forced to accept the end of the most obvious vestiges of segregation. and a $6. the state would commit to give Mississippi’s three HCUs $246 million for new programs..Taking the Pulse of Historically Black Colleges 337 Mississippi State. Mississippi. Since the 1980s. Many white businessmen saw the unresolved Fordice case as a barrier to economic expansion. Jackson State would receive several new Ph. and by merging two white institutions. open admissions enrollment.” including providing nonblack scholarships to recruit white students. the black plaintiffs appealed the district court’s plan to the Fifth Circuit.

Presidential executive orders have also created a President’s 26 27 Allen et al. enhancing program development. Although some HBCUs are still in danger of closing. alumni. and/or loss of accreditation. Between 1996 and 2002 almost half of private HBCUs have received sanctions from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. administrative and financial mismanagement. Between 1993 and 2003. in 1986 the Higher Education Act was amended to give HBCUs $170 million from 1987 to 1992 for infrastructure. and that the three HBCUs would have difficulty reaching 10 percent nonblack enrollment for three consecutive years.”27 Since then every president from Ronald Reagan to George W. For example. it will not likely be because of a radical interpretation of Brown. and students were not satisfied. and the executive branch have all accepted that higher education. did not remove inequities in black faculty salaries. and research grants. however. federal support for HBCUs increased $639 million. faculty. and cannot be treated the same as public elementary and secondary schools.. Congress. 2002. the federal government has clearly shown support for HBCUs. The district court denied their motion to reconsider the agreement and sent it to the state legislature to confirm its acceptance of the terms. or 60 percent. The High Court. public as well as private. In 1980 Jimmy Carter signed Executive Order 12232. involves a variety of institutions and student choice. Historically Black Colleges. Bush has issued similar executive orders in support of HBCUs. Like some PWIs forced to close in recent years.” 272. 48. thirty-seven years after the case was first heard. . a number of HBCUs are in trouble because of low endowments. did not protect the academically disadvantaged students who needed open admission to have higher education access. Roebuck and Murty. regardless of which party occupies the White House. low enrollments.26 Nevertheless. “Historically Black Colleges. establishing a program “to overcome the effects of discriminatory treatment and expand the capacity of historically black colleges and universities to provide quality education. They said the financial enhancements were not enough to compete with the white universities. Both houses overwhelmingly approved the agreement and the district court judge signed the compliance decree on February 15. in recent years.338 Avery Some black plaintiffs. the regional accrediting agency for HBCUs and PWIs since 1931. heavy debt.

the first black president of the United States. DC: Government Printing President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 28 . The Mission Continues: Annual Report to the President on the Results of Participation of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Federal Programs. and monitor federal agency compliance. but he is likely to continue federal support for HBCUs. 2005). which submit an annual report to the White House. 2002–2003 (Washington. advise on policy matters concerning HBCUs. http://www.28 Barak Obama. 1–5. did not attend a black college.Taking the Pulse of Historically Black Colleges 339 Board of Advisors for HBCUs.

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