Virginia State University possibly offering nation’s first-ever history course on HBCU’s

Updated: Sep. 4, 2020 at 6:18 PM EDT
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ETTRICK, Va. (WWBT) - The fall semester is already underway virtually for students at Virginia State University.

Although the campus is closed to students, History 349 - HBCU History is getting national attention because it may be the country’s first-ever class to teach about the origins of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

“African Americans have had a very difficult time having their history acknowledged having their history legitimized,” said Assistant Professor of History and creator of the course, Dr. Cheryl Mango.

This new 300 level course is a critical analysis reading and writing class that covers a range of historical and cultural topics within Historically Black Colleges and Universities. For example, some of the first HBCU’s were founded in the early 1800s before the Civil War.

History 349 - HBCU History
History 349 - HBCU History((Source: Dr. Cheryl Mango))

“This was born out of a need to move HBCU’s from a position where we just talk about them as if they are some type of vanity project and if we’re cheering them on, instead this class was to bring them into the center,” said Dr. Mango.

This course has been an idea for Dr. Mango for years as she attended an HBCU herself and given the recent social injustice debate, now is the perfect time to put this course into action.

“HBCU’s are one of the few institutions in America that have never excluded anyone - most institutions can’t say that,” said Dr. Mango.

The course will cover how HBCU’s began, their roles in shaping politics, entertainment and culture. It will even highlight some notable graduates.

“HBCU’s are largely responsible for the progress that Black people have made thus far,” said Dr. Mango.

Dr. Mango says HBCU’s remain more relevant today than ever, and you can’t really know where you are going until you know where you have been.

“History is your resume, it’s your guide, it’s the blueprint,” said Dr. Mango. “This class is not just for the sake of VSU students knowing their history, it’s also to help diversify the workforce, to help promote entrepreneurship.”

This course is already underway with 21 students enrolled.

The university said that buzz around this course has been so great that other universities have reached to add this blueprint to their academics.

History 349 - HBCU History blackboard
History 349 - HBCU History blackboard((Source: Dr. Cheryl Mango))

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