Historically Black Colleges and Universities TimeLine


Why HBCUs?
Before 1850s
Image Sources

President John Kennedy at Howard University


  Passing of Second Morrill Act

After intensive lobbying by land-grand presidents the second Morrill Act was passed in 1890 (Geiger, 2005).  The vocational-training trend in higher education for blacks was further stimulated by the second Morrill Act, which specifically prohibited payments of federal funds to states, which discriminated against blacks in admissions to their tax-supported colleges and was passed on August 30, 1890.  With the passing of the second Morrill Act the federal government made a stance on education being provided to everyone, even if it was in “separate, but equal” institutions (Brubacher & Rudy, 2007).

  Plessy v. Ferguson

Plessy v. Ferguson was decided on May 18, 1896 and established separate-but-equal public facilities that eventually impacted how higher education taught African-Americans and how institutions for African-Americans were created (Brown & Harlan, 1896).



The first football game played between HBCUs was played between Johnson C. Smith University and Livingston College (The HBCU Network, 2008). 



  Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the first intercollegiate Black Greek-letter fraternity is founded at Cornell University

Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African-Americans, was founded at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York by seven college men who recognized the need for a strong bond of Brotherhood among African descendants in this country on December 4, 1906.  The Fraternity initially served as a study and support group for minority students who faced racial prejudice,  both educationally and socially at Cornell (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., 2007).   



 Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is founded at Howard University, thus becoming the first AA-oriented Greek letter organization at an HBCU.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority was founded on the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC.  It is the oldest Greek-letter organization established by African American college-trained women.  According to the Sorority’s website, the small group of women who founded the Sorority were conscious of a privileged position as college-trained women of color.  They wanted their college experience to be meaningful and productive (Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., 2008).



  North Carolina College for Negros (North Carolina Central University)

North Carolina College for Negros (North Carolina Central University) is established.

The National Religious Training School and Chautauqua was chartered in 1909 as a private institution and opened to students on July 10, 1910 (North Carolina Central University, 2008).



  Xavier University 

According to Xavier University’s website, there are 102 historically black colleges and 253 Catholic colleges, but they are the only black Catholic college.  The small liberal arts college dates back to 1915 by St. Katharine Drexel and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (Xavier University of Louisiana, 2008)