Mainstream America is beginning to understand the power of Historically Black Colleges and Universities thanks to high profile graduates like Kamala Harris (Howard), Spike Lee (Morehouse) and many members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Many HBCUs were formed in the south to provide post-secondary education to African Americans who were denied entry to predominantly white institutions. Now, Claudia Walker, a Spelman Graduate and author, is teaching kids about the value of HBCUs and their options when they’re ready to apply for higher learning.
The ABCs of HBCUs introduces vaunted houses of higher learning to elementary school-aged children and is inspired by her undergraduate experiences at the Atlanta college.
“If it hadn’t been for my mom who attended an HBCU, Savannah State, and sang its praises or the show A Different World, which let me live out the fantasy of attending an all Black college,” stated Walker, according to Word In Black. “I probably wouldn’t have attended an HBCU.” She says her high school guidance counselor “spoke very negatively about HBCUs.”
Walker added that she didn’t listen to the advice of the counselor and is very happy she went to an HBCU.
“I had so many great experiences there that I’ve carried with me for a long time, and I got opportunities from attending an HBCU that I wouldn’t have gotten if I hadn’t gone to Spelman,” she said.
Part of Walker’s mission since graduating from college is to teach kids about their options, something she feels she was robbed of as many of her students during her teaching career had either never heard of HBCUs or heard negatively or little about them.
“It made me really want to create a book, now a book series, that teaches children about the legacies of HBCUs and some of the great thinkers and activists that have come out of those schools as early as possible,” she said.
Walker also points out that today, going to an HBCU may increase the chance of being offered opportunities at larger companies looking for talent. “Oftentimes when corporations are recruiting and intentionally looking to diversify and make sure they have more African-Americans at the table, they’re going to HBCUs because they know it’s a numbers game. They’re gonna come out with a strong group of potential new hires.”
You can order Claudia Walker’s book The ABCs of HBCUs here.