There are more than 100 historically Black colleges and universities in this country, seven in Tennessee.
Monday night the Memphis Grizzlies shined a bright light on these institutions.
In the sea of Grizzlies blue and gold, there was a lot of collegiate pride.
It was HBCU night at the Memphis vs. San Antonio game at FedExForum.
Lemoyne-Owen College started the game with their choir singing the national anthem.
Tennessee State University might have slowed down concession sales with their halftime performance which kept everyone in their seats.
For more than 150 years, historically Black colleges have been a staple in this country.
“HBCUs really connect us back to our heritage as a people,” said Trevia Chatman who graduated from Tennessee State University. “There was a time when we couldn’t get into higher education and really tap into our talents and even though years ago there was segregation and we didn’t have the opportunity to go everywhere we had these institutions that really embraced who we were and nurtured who we were,” said Chatman.
Monday afternoon the Tennessee Senate approved a bill that would create HBCU Day in the state.
The bill would celebrate all HBCUs on November 8.
On that day in 1965, the Higher Education Act was passed and HBCUs were designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
Tennessee would not only celebrate historically Black colleges, but also focus on things like funding and enrollment.
“HBCUs have provided a wealth of knowledge. A wealth of teaching to students for so many years and it’s time for us to be recognized,” said Robin Mayweather who graduated from Florida A&M University.
“I am very interested in HBCU culture. It means a lot to me, I hope to give a lot back to future students as well,” said Marvelous Brown who graduated from Tennessee State University and now teaches at Fisk University.
HBCU Day in Tennessee still needs to pass the House.