HBCUs & Their Involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Celebrate Black History and HBCUs’ Contribution

Since its inception, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have always led the way for social change. Many great black leaders have come from HBCUs including, Stokely Carmicheal (Howard University), Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Morehouse College), Jesse Jackson (North Carolina A&T), Rosa Parks (Alabama State), and many others. HBCUs played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement, serving as a breeding ground for future leaders and their fight for equality. HBCUs became the base for meetings, rallying centers, and training grounds for non-violent protests. Many important civil rights movement activities took place on or originated at HBCU campuses and this article serves to highlight a few of those revolutionary contributions.

Here are a few HBCUs & their involvement in the Civil Rights Movement!

1North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

North Carolina A&T played an instrumental part in the Civil Rights Movement, as it produced the historic Greensboro Four. On February 1, 1960, in Greensboro, N.C., four A&T freshmen took a stand against racism and initiated a peaceful, civil rights sit-in protest. Ezell Blair, Jr. (Jibreel Khazan), Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, and David Richmond sat down at a “whites-only” Woolworth’s lunch counter and refused to leave when denied service and stayed until the store closed. As the movement grew, more students from A&T, Bennett College, and neighboring institutions joined the original four in their sit-ins. Their efforts drew national attention and inspired similar sit-ins that eventually spread to 55 cities in 13 states. The four brave young men ushered in a new era of change, as Woolworths later desegregated their stores and lunch counters in July 1960, with others following suit even before the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. On February 1, 2002, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University memorialized the Greensboro Four, also known as the A&T Four with a monument on the campus. The February One Monument portrays the four men in bronze, depicted in similar clothing they wore that day, and includes a summary of the sit-in.