The Disappearing Black Man on HBCU Campuses
A new school year is beginning for HBCU’s, students are
preparing to return to schools in August across our nation.
Students and their families are shopping, packing and
scheduling for college or university trips to HBCU campuses
either close to home or several hundred or even thousands
of mile away. The traveling may be by bus, plane, family car,
train, carpooling or other means, the objective is to get
students back into school, preparing them for future careers.
HBCU’s have been preparing for new freshmen and returning
students. The process to prepare dorms, cafeterias and other
facilities to support higher educational learning is nearing
completion. The excitement is rising for another year of
educational achievement and growth, progressively striving
for the goals of graduating and receiving a degree that was
earned with hard work, sacrifice and dedication.
The history of HBCU’s is well known nationally and
internationally, the service of Historically Black Colleges
and Universities is not praised as much as they should be,
this is excepted because HBCU graduates know they receive
an education that has prepared them for excellence in their
fields of study and passion.
A growing issue is walking college campuses especially HBCU’s
are increasing clusters of female students. Visually there
are more females than men. It is almost eerie to see so many
female students and a small mixture of male students.
Not only are there smaller numbers of male students, but male
students are not graduating from college and universities in
the numbers like female students. To add insult to these academic
injuries male students seem to be challenged academically
more than females in the important areas of math and reading
HBCU’s see that Black male students are diminishing , this
absence creates a vacuum of educated professional Black men
serving as role models to Black males in high schools that
strive to obtain higher education, but do not have a mentor
or role model in their families or even neighborhoods.
The U.S. Department of Education shows the national college
graduation rate for Black men is 33.1 percent compared with
44.8 percent for Black women. The total graduation rate is
57.3 percent. Black men represent 7.9 percent of 18 to 24
year old in America but only 2.8 percent of undergraduates
The question is raised are communities, schools, churches
and businesses doing enough to encourage Black males to
excel in academics? The school closures in Philadelphia,
Chicago, Detroit and other cities show that educational
resources are diminishing and parents in these communities
are either uninformed or satisfied with the educational
failures that are present. Either way this will condemn
The discrepancies of attendance and graduation can be seen
from data accumulated from the Department of Education where
national college graduation rates of Hispanic men is 41.1
percent,Native Americans and Alaska natives 33.8 percent.
The comparison in graduation to White males is 54.5 percent. Asian/Pacific Islanders
have the highest rate, 60.6 percent, based on their cultural
respect for learning and education. If theses discrepancies
continue the education gap for Black males will create
situations where Black males have less earning power than
their counterparts of other cultures. The skill levels
will be substantially below not allowing
access to higher paying careers. The lack of education
influences political influence, socio-economic levels and
the ability to provide for a family.
Because of statistical evidence HBCU’s still play of very
vital role in educating Black males especially those that
will need additional assistance in reading, literacy,
comprehension and mathematics.
Academic areas where non- Black institutions rarely provide
these preventive services. An example of the changes in
college campuses can be seen at Howard University.
Undergraduate male enrollment dropped from 3,070 in the
1994-95 academic years to 2,499 during 2009-10. Female
enrollment dropped by only 52 students, from 4,958
to 4,906. HBCU’s are still strong in encouraging Black
males to attend college by providing services that address
both academic and cultural uniqueness.
Complicating these efforts are the changes in the structure
for mandated state assessments, increase in discipline
policies that leave no room for counseling and mentoring.
Incarceration policies appear to be the only option if a
student makes a bad call in judgment and actions in high
The key to success of Black male and female students is
parental and community involvement. Understanding that
parents still have a vested interest in their children’s
success. The costs of not having a college education
is seen in limited job opportunities, reduced earning
potential, stunted career advancement and negative
long-term economic and social downturns in the Black
community. Black males need solid careers with
competitive wages, without solid incomes and steady
careers, young Black males chances for
success diminish greatly.
As a graduate of South Carolina State University a HBCU
located Orangeburg, S.C. in the area of education I have
the skills to be an effective educator, the support that
I received even struggling in math and science allowed me
to build my confidence, abilities and even grow a love for
science and mathematics. My son is enrolled at Florida A&M
Univ. where he is an honor student; my expectations are
high and for my daughter a senior in high school. Parents
need to set the bar high and help their children reach that
“Black men and women need college degrees more than ever.”
William Jackson, STEAM Educator
Resources should be made available to help Black males to be
successful in higher education, but start in public education
at elementary schools to high schools. The lack of male role
models, mentors and educators does play a role in diminishing
enrollment of Black males in higher education.
Churches and community groups need to be involved,
congregations are filled with retired educators, and even
military officers and enlisted people with years of dedicated service.
Their service is still needed to mentor and encourage youth
to strive for higher education, growth and maturity.
Darryl Moment an adjunct lecturer at Howard Univ, “It is not
about a single part of their (Black males) environment, you
cannot find a cure, you cannot find a symptom for something
that’s systemic.” “Too many Black males don’t have a successful
model for assimilating in college. This needs to change with
offering workshops in writing, math, study skills, and time
and crisis management. Research on Black males on campuses
shows that having supportive relationships with mentors on
campus plays a significant and important role in Black males
Parents as you take your children to college and university
take the time to find out about mentoring services, clubs and
organizations that can aid in your child’s success in college.
It takes a village to raise leaders and the next generation of
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