Recruiters for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities were at SilveradoHigh School in Victorville last Friday to greet and meet potential students to their respective schools. The event was hosted by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. High Desert Alumnae Chapter. Tamara Thomas, who attended an HBGU in the
’80s, spoke to students about the advantages of attending an HCBU. Another speaker, Thomas Lee, stated he went on one of the HBCU tours, and felt more at home; he had originally wanted to stay in California for secondary schooling, but the HBCU he has chosen has more classes in his major of communications.
The women of Delta stated they were pleased with the turnout, the reception and respect shown by the students and their responsiveness they displayed.
In speaking with students after the sessions ended they were about evenly divided about whether the information presented had changed their minds about where to pursue secondary education.
The Soros were also registering eighteen-year-olds to vote.
A relatively large number of recruiters from the HBCUs were on hand to answer students’ questions and share information about their schools. Some of those representatives were alumni now living in the area and stood in for their alma maters.
The Historically Black Colleges and Universities were founded after the American Civil War to educate the children. Only three existed prior to the war years; Lincoln of Pennsylvania was founded in 1854, as was Wilberforce, started by the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Cheney University of Pennsylvania was started in 1837. These colleges were bastions of advancement for Black children until the sixties’ civil rights era. With the push for diversity, some of the HBCUs are more than 80% European heritage; West VirginiaState and BluefieldCollege have a higher percentile of European heritage students than African American students.
There are currently 105 colleges and universities that operate under the banner of HBCU. They are still educating our children, the smaller class sizes make the learning experience more personal and for some students this is the key to achieving their goals. Most of the HBCUs in the south were started as land grant colleges in the second Morrill Act of 1870. It provided the land and a stipend for research to the colleges. Prior to the second act, the Black institutions of higher learning were excluded, and Black students were excluded from the non-Black schools. LincolnUniversity in Jefferson City, MO was assisted in its infancy by donations from a Buffalo Soldier Regiment located nearby; from their monthly pay of $13.00, they set aside a portion to help a fledgling school grow.
The founding of schools to train the next generation is a living testament to the value our foreparents placed on education; many of them only had fourth or fifth grade educations, but they worked to assure that the next generation would be better prepared to make their way in the world. Some schools were the result of church denominations; some were the vision of such as Mrs. Mary McLeod Bethune, and Booker T. Washington. But when the civil rights legislation opened doors of opportunities that had been sealed the HBCUs had prepared the way.
The High Desert Chapter of the Deltas is continuing the path of social consciousness that has been the benchmark since its inception. The president is Peggy Moore, 1st vice president is Yemela Bell-Gomez, and 2nd vice president is Roxanne Young. It was chartered in 2006.
Vendors supporting the information briefing were those whose focus is education related, helping students to achieve their goals, or helping them to define a goal if they are still fuzzy.
African American students and Latino students at Silverado have long been at odds, yet they sat together and listened intently, and perhaps looked beyond the tension and disagreements of the present moment.