By Lucas Johnson

NASHVILLE, TN (TSU News Service) — Tennessee State University is offering a course on the history of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and their impact around the world.  

The course starts this fall and is available to undergraduates and graduates. It provides a

Dr. Learotha Williams

chronological and thematic study of the history of HBCUs in the United States from 1837 to the present, paying close attention to the ways they have influenced the social, economic, political, and intellectual life of African Americans in the U.S. and the impact their graduates have had on Modern America and the world.

“Along with President Glenda Glover, the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs is excited to have initiated the effort to bring this course to fruition,” said Dr. Michael Harris, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. 

“This course offers students deep insight into the success of HBCUs and their impact on American society. HBCUs are the pillar of educational excellence, key institutional anchors for neighborhoods and communities, and foundational to the academic experience of African Americans.”

There are more than 100 HBCUs in the United States. They have pretty much always maintained a degree of popularity. But more attention was undoubtedly given to them when former U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, a graduate of Howard University, began her run for vice president of the United States. And the spotlight on HBCUs has remained now that Harris has become the second most powerful person in the world.

“Needless to say, that we are excited about this course on the history of HBCU’s,” said Dr. Samantha Morgan-Curtis, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at TSU. “It is important to recognize and promote the rich history and impact of HBCUs.”

In the course, students explore the historic role that HBCUs have played in the development of the communities where they are located and the intimate relationship they cultivated with the residents of those spaces over time.

“I am excited about taking a scholarly look at these institutions,” said Dr. Learotha Williams, a history professor at TSU who is teaching the course. “I hope to provide a better understanding of the role of HBCUs in American society. Not only that, but the national and international impact they’ve had, particularly the individuals and social movements they’ve produced.”

To learn more about HIST 4325, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/history/.