Recent Articles

Let us recommit to the HBCU mission of St. Paul’s College

By Benjamin Todd Jealous

Guest Commentator


This fall, as college campuses open their doors to the bustle of students, one historically Black institution will remain silent. In the old colonial town of Lawrenceville, Va., Saint Paul’s College has shut its doors after more than a century of operation. The college had fallen on hard times in recent years, and it serves as a canary in the coal mine for other historically Black colleges and universities that face an uncertain economic future. Saint Paul’s College was founded in 1888 by my grandfather’s uncle, James Solomon Russell. A former slave who died an archdeacon and university principal-emeritus, Russell understood the transformative power of education. Continue Reading →

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‘Fierce urgency’ stressed at MLK Breakfast

Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, told nearly 2,000 people attending the 23rd annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Breakfast January 21, “We need to wake up.” 

Specifically, she urged the sold-out audience at the Minneapolis Convention Center and the live TV audience watching on TPT (Twin Cities Public Television) to wake up to the consequences of failing to improve the educational disparities that pose dangerous implications for the future of our country: “Will the United States be a beacon or a blip in history? “We need to recognize that we have to invest now,” Edelman said, “and invest with urgency and with persistence so that we can give every child a chance to be able to function, work and contribute in this very complex, changing world and economy.”

A graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, Edelman began her career in the mid-1960s when, as the first African American woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Miss. In 1968, she moved to Washington, D.C. as counsel for the Poor People’s Campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began organizing before his death. In 1973 she founded the Children’s Defense Fund. Under her leadership, it has become one of the United States’ strongest advocates for children and families. Continue Reading →

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Black colleges may be better option for Black students

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

A new United Negro College Fund (UNCF) study finds that Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) often outperform non-HBCUs in educating Black students. The study, “Serving Students and the Public Good: HBCUs and the Washington Monthly College Rankings,” was released in October by the UNCF’s Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute. Based on the 2012 Washington Monthly college rankings, it found that 83 percent of HBCUs were above the median among 249 liberal arts colleges and 50 percent above the median for graduating students from low-income families. It also points out:

• HBCUs “consistently rank in the top 50 percent” of schools in both overall rankings and social mobility ranking. • HBCUs seem to be more successful in graduating students from “disadvantaged backgrounds…and tend to perform at an above-average level and significantly better than when they are evaluated strictly on the basis of actual graduation rates.”

• HBCUs “have a long-standing commitment to provide educational access to all students.”

College rankings, such as in the U.S. News and World Report, are commonly used by school officials to highlight the institution’s many features to attract students. Continue Reading →

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