Frederick D. Patterson, Lyndon Johnson
Frederick D. Patterson with President Lyndon Johnson in the White House Oval Office in 1964 (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

In 1943, Dr. Frederick D. Patterson, president of Tuskegee Institute, wrote an open letter in the Pittsburgh Courier to the presidents of other historically black colleges and universities urging them to “pool their small monies and make a united appeal to the national conscience.”

His idea took root and on April 25, 1944, the United Negro College Fund was incorporated with 27 member colleges.

The organization annually awards more than 10,000 students scholarships, worth more than $100 million, to support 37 of its member institutions.

To push their legacy forward, UNCF announced last week it will host an inaugural Black History Month fundraising campaign, named Build #BetterFutures. They aim to raise $500,000 by the end of the month.

“In a month that celebrates African American history and culture, we also want to remember education,” said Maurice E. Jenkins Jr., UNCF executive vice president. “Build #BetterFutures is a national effort to request support for our HBCUs and the deserving students they serve.

“By investing in UNCF, you are helping to build a better and brighter future for the next generation of scientists, engineers, educators, clergy and business leaders,” he said.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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