This fall we’ll be launching a new documentary about Historically Black Colleges and Universities, also known as HBCUs. They were established towards the end of the Civil War in an effort to educate newly freed slaves. But after reaching peak enrollment in the 1990s, HBCUs began to lose students to predominantly white institutions, which at some schools led to a downsizing of faculty, student services, and program offerings.
Today there are 106 colleges designated by the federal government as HBCUs. Most of these are small, rural campuses in the Southeastern United States. They don’t usually make news. But our guest Jarrett Carter, founder of HBCUDigest.com, feels that in order for Americans to best understand race and inequality, the media must take a closer look at what happens at these historically black institutions. He recently spoke with ARW producer Samara Freemark about why he feels HBCUs serve a crucial role in higher education.