Hhistorically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) play a vital role in shaping American culture. They provide opportunities and education for many high-achieving young black students and have inspired many students to achieve great feats.
These institutions are largely in the southeast by necessity. Black people did not have the chance to be educated in larger, already established predominantly white institutions for a significant period after the Reconstruction era. So HBCUs were the solution to this problem, these places of higher learning have worked to educate large segments of the black community for over a century.
Today we break down the state of Alabama and recognize the HBCUs which still thrive today.
Alabama A&M University
The institution is located in Huntsville, Alabama, and was founded in 1875 by a former slave named Dr. William Hooper Councill. The four-year school currently has an enrollment of 6,100 students according to its website.
Alabama State University
The school was originally founded in Marion, Alabama in 1867 by nine formerly enslaved men now known as Marion Nine. The school would later move to Montgomery, Alabama, where it is located today. Alabama State is a four-year school that currently enrolls approximately 4,072 according to compare tuition fees.
Bishop State Community College
Bishop State Community College was originally the mobile branch of Alabama State College (ASU). The institution was founded in 1927 but did not officially become Bishop State Community College until 1989. The two-year college enrolls approximately 2,860 people according to US News and World Report.
Gadsden State Community College
Gadsden State Community College was designated an HBCU in 1997. The two-year community college was formed when four schools merged Alabama Technical College, Gadsden State Technical Institute, Gadsden State Junior College, and Harry M. Ayers State Technical College. The school has five different campuses and over 4,000 students.
Trenholm State Community College Council
This community college was formed through the consolidation of John M. Patterson State Technical College and H. Councill Trenholm State Technical College in April 2000. In 2015, H. Councill Trenholm State Technical College officially became H. Councill Trenholm State Community College. The school had an enrollment of 1,526 students in 2021.
JF Drake State Community and Technical College
Located in Huntsville, Alabama, the community and technical college was founded in 1961 as the Huntsville State Vocational Technical School. The name was later changed in 1966 to JF Drake State Technical Trade School in honor of the late Joseph Fanning Drake, longtime president of Alabama A&M University. The school has an enrollment of 831 students according to US News and World Reports.
Lawson State Community College – Birmingham
Miles College was founded in 1898 and is the only four-year HBCU in historic Birmingham. Miles College has 1,501 students enrolled in fall 2021.
The Huntsville-based HBCU was founded by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1896 to educate recently freed African Americans in the South. The four-year school has an enrollment of 1,461 students according to US News and World Reports.
The University of Selma was incorporated in 1881 as the Alabama Baptist Normal and Theological School of Selma and was founded by leaders of the Baptist Church. The name would later be changed to Selma University in 1908.
Shelton State Community College
The two-year community college based in Tuscaloosa, Alabama was founded in 1952 as Shelton State Technical College and merged with Brewer State Junior College in 1979. The school currently has about 4,350 students according to US News and World Reports.
Stillman College is the only four-year HBCU located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The school was founded in 1876 but was known as the Tuscaloosa Institute until it was charted in 1895 and became the Stillman Institute named Dr. Charles Allen Stillman, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Tuscaloosa . Today, Stillman College has approximately 712 students enrolled according to US News and World Reports.
Talladega College was founded as Swayne School in 1867 and later chartered as Talladega College in 1869. The school is located in Talladega, Alabama and has approximately 1,300 students.
Historic Tuskegee University was founded in 1881 as the Tuskegee Institute by Dr. Booker T. Washington. The school is located in Tuskegee, Alabama and has approximately 3,053 students.
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