Cheney University in Pennsylvania, Oldest HBCUs

Located in Pennsylvania, Cheney University is the oldest HBCU; (c) Soul Of America

Oldest HBCUs

History Black Colleges & Universities dates back to 1837 when Richard Humphreys, a Quaker philanthropist from Philadelphia, started the Institute for Colored Youth to counter the prevailing practice of limiting or prohibiting the education of Blacks. Though the institute began as a high school, it began offering college degrees in the late 1930s. Today, that school is known as Cheyney University.

103 recognized Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are dotted across the country in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the US Virgin Islands. Alabama has the most HBCUs, 14.

Oldest HBCUs – 4-Year Public & Private

1837 Cheyney University of Pennsylvania (Cheyney, PA)
1854 Lincoln University of Pennsylvania (Lincoln University, PA)
1856 Wilberforce University (Wilberforce, OH)
1857 Harris-Stowe State College (St. Louis, MO)
1862 LeMoyne-Owen College (Memphis, TN)

Other HBCU Milestones

1865 – Bowie State University was founded in Bowie, Maryland and Virginia Union University was founded in Richmond, Virginia.

1867 – North Carolina’s Barber-Scotia College in Concord, Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, Morgan State University in Baltimore, and St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh were all founded

1867 – MeHarry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, has trained over one-third of the Black physicians and dentists practicing in the U.S.

1887 – Spelman College in Atlanta became the nation’s oldest liberal arts college for Black women

1881 – Tuskegee University was founded by Booker T. Washington in Tuskegee, Alabama

1925 – Though founded as N.C. College for Negroes, N.C. Central University in Durham, North Carolina became the nation’s first state-supported liberal arts college for African Americans

1944 – The United Negro College Fund incorporated to raise money and provide services for private HBCUs

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