You would think that most of a Historically Black Colleges and University’s (HBCUs) student population would mainly consist of African-American students.
But there are some HBCUs where blacks make up just a small amount of the student body population.
Bluefield State College is one of them.
Shockingly, Bluefield State College’s student body is 90 percent white. Located in Bluefield, West Virginia, the school is part of West Virginia’s public education system and was founded in 1895 as Bluefield Colored Institute. At that time, the school served as a black high school. Many of the student’s parents migrated to West Virginia to work in the coal industry.
In the 1920′s the school became known as Bluefield Institute. The school became a launching pad in the creation of the region’s black middle class. Bluefield became fully accredited in 1954. After the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision, Bluefield’s student population began to change because black students were able to choose from a wider range of options for their education. […]
The 60s brought many changes. The student population at Bluefield was now nearly half white, and in 1966, the state chose the school’s first white president, Wendell G. Hardaway. Hardaway soon hired 23 new faculty members who were all white, and the school’s dedicated faculty dropped to just 30 percent black by 1967.
The next two years brought lots of turmoil with students staging a protest against Hardaway’s discriminatory treatment of black faculty and students. Tensions also rose with the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy leading to death threats against administrators and a list of demands being delivered to president Hardaway.
Students continued to protest against what they called “the educational extermination of the black student” but to no avail. Things became more tense, with the school becoming a nearly all-white commuter school.
To this day, there are several pending lawsuits filed by former administrators, accusing the school of racial discrimination.
What’s interesting is that despite the school being 90 percent white, its alumni association is all black and has never had a white member. Homecoming events are attended by primarily blacks, even though the school has been majority white for decades.
What a sad legacy for the school’s founders.
Should Bluefield State College even be recognized as an HBCU?
Should HBCUs only allow a certain amount of whites to attend their schools?
Sound off below!