Milestones in African American Education

African American society enjoys full privileges of learning, attending school, colleges, universities and receiving a degree in the present generation. However, this freedom to study was not granted so easily. Black Americans went through a lot of struggles and reforms to earn rights, including education, throughout the decades. There had been different important personalities and originations which were responsible for the implementation and changes in the history of the African American education. Battling inequality issues, starting anew and standing on their own as citizens of the state, the timeline of the Black education and its progress are full of historical milestones worth taking a look at.

19th Century

Because of the age of racial discrimination in 1800’s, the society was divided into the Whites and the Blacks. The African American people were not allowed in certain areas where the Whites were including in public places like churches, stores, transportation and even schools. Black people were oppressed and started to fight back against the stereotype. One of the first men who made the initiative was Richard Humphreys. In 1837, he founded the Institute for Colored Youth for the Black children. This school later transformed into Cheyney University. The African Methodist Episcopal Church established the first school (Wilberforce University) which provides higher learning to Black Americans in 1856. Twenty years later, the first medical school for black students was founded and was named Meharry Medical College.

integration20th Century

Many decades later in Topeka, Kansas, a group of African American parents, led by Oliver Brown, tried to enroll their children in a neighborhood school. However, their requests were denied and were advised to instead have their children attend a segregated school intended for black children. Because they wanted the best education for their children, the thirteen parents together filed a class-action law suit in the Kansan District Court. Three years later, together with other similar cases, it marked as the start of one of the greatest achievement in the history of the African American education because the segregation practice was abolished.

In the 1960s, students and multinational companies showed more concern for the education of the Black people. An organization named Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was formed by both white and black students to fight against discrimination and segregation. In 1962, the first black to attend the University of Mississippi was James Meredith. A year after, two more students, James Hood and Vivian Malone, enrolled in the University of Alabama despite Governor George Wallace’s disapproval. Morgan State, Yale and Howard University received $ 1 million from the Ford Foundation to fund the training of faculty members in order for them to start teaching subjects and courses related to African American studies.

21st Century

By the turn of the century, Mount Holyoke University ranked first as the educational institution to have the most number of Black members in a faculty among all schools surveyed by the Journal of Blacks in a 2007 study. By 2008, there had been a marked increase in the enrolling rate of 18 to 24 year old Black Americans into higher education as compared twenty years before.


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