Courtesy of Virginia State University
Courtesy of Virginia State University

A new 300-level course about the origins of historically Black colleges and universities is getting national attention as possibly the country’s first-ever class to focus on the nation’s 107 traditionally Black schools.

The course — History 349 – HBCU History — will be taught virtually at Virginia State University this fall and covers a range of historical and cultural topics aligned with HBCUs, a local NBC News affiliate reported. It aims to serve as a critical analysis reading and writing class that depicts the pre-Civil War founding of some of the schools.

“African Americans have had a very difficult time having their history acknowledged, having their history legitimized,” said Cheryl Mango, VSU assistant professor of history and creator of the course. “This was born out of a need to move HBCU’s from a position where we just talk about them as if they are some type of vanity project and if we’re cheering them on, instead this class was to bring them into the center.”

Mango, an HBCU alum, added that although VSU’s campus is closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, now is the perfect time to put the course into action.

“HBCUs are one of the few institutions in America that have never excluded anyone — [and] most institutions can’t say that,” she said.

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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