Five HBCUs That Are Often Overlooked


More than 100 historically Black colleges and universities span the map. Over the years, these institutions have produced the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Chadwick Boseman and Jerry Rice. However, many of these institutions are often overlooked in favor of prestigious institutions like Spelman College, Morehouse College, Howard University, Hampton University or even North Carolina A&T. In an effort to spread the love a bit, here are just a few HBCUs that are doing great work in their communities and producing future leaders.

Wiley College

Location: Marshall, Texas

Notable Alumni: Mike Lewis, James Farmer, Thelma DeWitty, Oliver Randolph

Wiley College is an HBCU that is well-known, but often forgotten. The school was immortalized in 2007 with the Denzel Washington led film, The Great Debaters. Washington's film highlighted the school's 1935 debate team that took on and defeated University of Southern California's feared squad. Beyond its depiction in film, Wiley College is a 141 year-old institution that offers a wide range of educational paths including its divisions of education, social science, humanities, business, technology and science. Today, the school educates nearly 1,500 students and has produced some of the country's brightest minds including civil rights leader James Farmer Sr.

Virginia Union University

Location: Richmond, Virginia

Notable Alumni: Booker T. Washington, Adam Clayton Powell Sr., Ben Wallace, Charles Oakley

Down in Richmond, Virginia Union has produced some of the nation's brightest minds and best athletes. Founded in 1865, the school began as an initiative of the American Home Baptist Society to assist previously enslaved people who may have been deprived of a formal education. Over the years, the school merged with a number of institutions including Hartshorn Memorial College, Storer College and Wayland Seminary. Today, the school is home to nearly 1,200 students and is ranked in the top 200 of the nation's liberal arts colleges.

Clark Atlanta University

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Notable Alumni: Bomani Jones, Kenya Barris, Bryan-Michael Cox

Just footsteps away from Morehouse College and Spelman College, Clark Atlanta stands as one of the nation's premier collegiate institutions. While it may receive the same publicity as its HBCU and PWI neighbors, it has produced the likes of James Weldon Johnson and Ralph Albernathy. It also boasts one of the nation's best business programs among HBCUs. Not to mention, it offers the beautiful city of Atlanta as its backdrop.

Winston-Salem State University

Location: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Notable Alumni: Madie Hall Xuma, Stephen A. Smith, Earl Monroe

Winston-Salem State University is a hidden gem of the south and a respected academic institution. Last year, Money Magazine ranked the university as the number one public HBCU in the country. The North Carolina Department of Commerce has also ranked the university first in in the UNC System for graduates receiving jobs in North Carolina after graduation and first in UNC System for highest median early career earnings after earning an undergraduate degree. Not to mention, the school boasts an incredible medical program that ranked first in the state for graduating Black students in nursing and health professions. Others may know the school for its men's basketball program that has produced Stephen A. Smith and Earl Monroe.

Fisk University

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Notable Alumni: John Lewis, W.E.B DuBois, John Hope Franklin

Sitting in the heart of Nashville, Fisk University was ranked sixth among HBCUs by the U.S. News and World Report. The university offers more than 20 undergraduate and graduate programs and a Ph.D. program in partnership with Vanderbilt University. Fisk also has played a part in the education of some of the most prolific writers and journalists in American history including Ida B. Wells and Nikki Giovanni. Today, the university is home to nearly 1,000 students and its campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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