Best Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs)

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the primary mission of serving the African American community. These institutions have played a crucial role in advancing education, civil rights, and social progress for Black Americans.

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Here are some key facts about HBCUs:

Historical Significance

HBCUs have a rich history dating back to the early 19th century. Many were founded in the decades following the Civil War to provide educational opportunities to newly emancipated slaves and African American students who were denied access to predominantly white institutions.

Diverse Offerings

HBCUs offer a wide range of academic programs, including liberal arts, sciences, engineering, business, law, education, and the arts. Some HBCUs are known for specific strengths, such as Howard University's law school and Morehouse College's leadership development programs.

Strong Sense of Community

HBCUs are often known for their close-knit and supportive communities. They provide an environment where students can thrive academically and personally.

Prominent Alumni

HBCUs have produced many accomplished alumni who have made significant contributions to various fields, including civil rights, politics, the arts, business, sports, and education. Notable alumni include Martin Luther King Jr., Oprah Winfrey, Thurgood Marshall, and Kamala Harris.

Cultural and Historical Significance

HBCUs are important cultural and historical institutions in the African American community. They have been at the forefront of civil rights movements and continue to promote social justice and equity.

Financial Accessibility

HBCUs often provide more affordable tuition and generous financial aid packages, making higher education more accessible to students from diverse backgrounds.

Research and Innovation

Many HBCUs engage in cutting-edge research, particularly in areas that impact minority communities. Institutions like Howard University and North Carolina A&T State University are known for their research contributions.


HBCUs have a strong tradition of athletic excellence. They compete in NCAA sports and have produced notable athletes and coaches.


While HBCUs were originally established to serve Black students, they are open to students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. They contribute to diversity and inclusivity in higher education.

Preservation of Culture

HBCUs play a vital role in preserving African American culture, history, and heritage through academic programs, cultural events, and community engagement.

Community Engagement

HBCUs often have a strong commitment to community engagement and service. They collaborate with local communities on various initiatives, addressing social issues, and providing valuable resources.

Legacy of Activism

HBCUs have a strong tradition of activism and advocacy for civil rights and social justice. Students and faculty at HBCUs have been at the forefront of movements for equality and change.

Supportive Environment

HBCUs are known for their nurturing and supportive academic environments. They provide mentoring, counseling, and academic support services to help students succeed.

Leadership Development

Many HBCUs prioritize leadership development, emphasizing the importance of producing well-rounded and socially responsible graduates who can make a positive impact on their communities.

Graduate and Professional Programs

In addition to undergraduate programs, many HBCUs offer graduate and professional degree programs. These programs are often highly respected in their respective fields.

Cultural Heritage

HBCUs celebrate and preserve African American culture and heritage through cultural events, museums, and academic programs in African American studies.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Some HBCUs have a strong focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, encouraging students to develop their own businesses and innovative solutions to societal challenges.

Global Impact

HBCUs have a global reach, with international programs and partnerships that foster global understanding and collaboration.

Healthcare and Medical Schools

Several HBCUs have medical schools and healthcare programs, contributing to the training of healthcare professionals and addressing healthcare disparities in underserved communities.

Alumni Networks

HBCUs have active alumni networks that provide mentoring, networking opportunities, and support for recent graduates as they transition into their careers.

Historical Landmarks

Some HBCU campuses include historical landmarks and sites related to the civil rights movement, providing a unique and educational experience for students and visitors.

Diversity of Offerings

HBCUs are diverse in terms of the academic programs they offer. While they share a common mission of serving Black communities, they cover a wide range of disciplines and fields of study.

Collaboration with Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs)

HBCUs often collaborate with PWIs on research projects, academic partnerships, and other initiatives, promoting diversity and knowledge-sharing.

HBCUs continue to play a vital role in American higher education, contributing to diversity, equity, and social progress. They provide opportunities for students to excel academically, engage in leadership and activism, and make a positive impact on their communities and the world.

HBCUs Often Considered Among the Best

The determination of the "best" Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) can vary depending on individual preferences, academic interests, and career goals. However, some HBCUs are consistently recognized for their academic excellence, strong programs, and contributions to higher education. Here are a few HBCUs that are often considered among the best:

    Spelman College

    Located in Atlanta, Georgia, Spelman College is a highly respected women's college known for its rigorous academics, strong community engagement, and focus on empowering women of African descent. It consistently ranks among the top HBCUs and liberal arts colleges in the nation.

    Howard University

    Howard University, located in Washington, D.C., is one of the most prestigious HBCUs with a long history of producing influential leaders and scholars. It is known for its programs in law, medicine, communications, and the arts.

    Morehouse College

    Located in Atlanta, Georgia, Morehouse College is an all-male institution with a strong emphasis on leadership development, character education, and academic excellence. It is particularly well-regarded for producing successful African American men.

    Spelman College

    Spelman College, also located in Atlanta, Georgia, is the women's counterpart to Morehouse. It is known for its commitment to liberal arts education, social justice, and its diverse range of academic programs.

    North Carolina A&T State University

    North Carolina A&T, located in Greensboro, North Carolina, is a public research university known for its STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs, engineering school, and contributions to research and innovation.

    Fisk University

    Fisk University, in Nashville, Tennessee, has a rich history in the arts and is renowned for its music programs, including the Fisk Jubilee Singers, who helped introduce Negro spirituals to the world.

    Xavier University of Louisiana

    Located in New Orleans, Xavier University is known for its strong programs in the sciences, pre-medical studies, and pharmacy. It is one of the top producers of African American graduates who go on to earn medical degrees.

    Claflin University

    Claflin University, in Orangeburg, South Carolina, is a private institution recognized for its commitment to community service, research, and liberal arts education.

    Tuskegee University

    Tuskegee University, in Tuskegee, Alabama, has a legacy of excellence in education, particularly in agriculture, engineering, and aviation. It was founded by Booker T. Washington.

    Florida A&M University

    Florida A&M, located in Tallahassee, Florida, is a historically black public university known for its strong programs in agriculture, business, pharmacy, and music.

It's important to note that each HBCU has its own unique strengths and offerings, and the "best" one for you will depend on your specific academic and personal preferences. When considering HBCUs, research their programs, campus culture, extracurricular activities, and opportunities for research and community engagement to find the institution that aligns best with your goals and aspirations.

HBCUs By States


Alabama A&M University - Huntsville

Alabama State University - Montgomery

Bishop State Community College - Mobile

Concordia University - Alabama - Selma (closed 2018)

Gadsden State College - Gadsden

J.F. Drake State Technical College - Huntsville

Lawson State Community College - Birmingham

Miles College - Fairfield

Miles School of Law - Fairfield *

Oakwood University - Huntsville

Selma University - Selma

Shelton State Community College - Tuscaloosa

Stillman College - Tuscaloosa

Talladega College - Talladega

Tuskegee University - Tuskegee

H. Councill Trenholm State Community College - Montgomery


University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff - Pine Bluff

Arkansas Baptist College - Little Rock

Philander Smith College - Little Rock

Shorter College - North Little Rock


Delaware State University - Dover

District of Columbia

University of the District of Columbia

Howard University


Bethune Cookman University - Daytona Beach

Edward Waters University - Jacksonville

Florida A&M University - Tallahassee

Florida Memorial University - Miami Gardens


Albany State University - Albany

Carver College* - Atlanta

Clark Atlanta University - Atlanta

Fort Valley State University - Fort Valley

Interdenominational Theological Center - Atlanta

Johnson C Smith Theological Seminary* - Atlanta

Morehouse College - Atlanta

Morehouse School of Medicine - Atlanta

Morris Brown College - Atlanta

Paine College - Augusta

Savannah State University - Savannah

Spelman College - Atlanta


Kentucky State University - Frankfort

Simmons College of Kentucky - Louisville


Dillard University - New Orleans

Grambling State University - Grambling

Southern University and A&M College - Baton Rouge

Southern University New Orleans - New Orleans

Southern University - Shreveport - Shreveport

Xavier University - New Orleans


Bowie State University - Bowie

Coppin State University - Baltimore

University of Maryland - Eastern Shore - Princess Anne

Morgan State University - Baltimore


Lewis College of Business - Detroit (Closed 2013)


Alcorn State University - Lorman

Coahoma Community College - Clarksdale

Hinds County Community College - Utica

Jackson State University - Jackson

Mississippi Valley State University - Itta Bena

Rust College - Holly Springs

Tougaloo College - Tougaloo


Harris - Stowe State University - St. Louis

Lincoln University - Jefferson City

North Carolina

Barber - Scotia College** - Concord

Bennett College - Greensboro

Elizabeth City State University - Elizabeth City

Fayetteville State University - Fayetteville

Hood Theological Seminary* - Salisbury

Johnson C. Smith University - Charlotte

Livingstone College - Salisbury

North Carolina Central University - Durham

North Carolina A&T State University - Greensboro

Shaw University - Raleigh

St. Augustine's University - Raleigh

Winston - Salem State University - Winston Salem


Central State University - Wilberforce

Payne Theological Seminary* - Wilberforce

Wilberforce University - Wilberforce


Langston University - Langston


Cheyney University - Cheyney

The Lincoln University - Lincoln University

South Carolina

Allen University - Columbia

Benedict College - Columbia

Claflin University - Orangeburg

Clinton College - Rock Hill

Denmark Technical College - Denmark

Morris College - Sumter

South Carolina State University - Orangeburg

Voorhees University - Denmark


American Baptist University - Nashville

Fisk University - Nashville

Knoxville College** - Knoxville

Lane College - Jackson

LeMoyne Owen College - Memphis

Meharry Medical College

Tennessee State University - Nashville


Huston - Tillotson University - Austin

Jarvis Christian College - Hawkins

Paul Quinn College - Dallas

Prairie View A&M University - Prairie View

Southwestern Christian College - Terrell

St. Philip's College - San Antonio

Texas College - Tyler

Texas Southern University - Houston

Wiley College - Marshall

US Virgin Islands

University of the Virgin Islands - St. Thomas & St. Croix


Hampton University - Hampton

Norfolk State University - Norfolk

Saint Paul's College - Lawrenceville (closed 2013)

Virginia State University - Petersburg

Virginia Union University - Richmond

Virginia University of Lynchburg - Lynchburg

West Virginia

Bluefield State College - Bluefield

West Virginia State University - Institute

*Not recognized by US Deptment of Education as an HBCU

** Not currently accredited

Education - Best Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs)