Many colleges did not admit blacks before the civil rights era. Hence, African-American leaders such as Booker T. Washington and Mary McLeod Bethune founded their own private institutions, and many states established segregated public colleges for blacks. These public and private schools now constitute the historically black colleges and universities (HBCU colleges). In 2018, U.S. News and World Report ranked 80 historically black colleges, many of which are in the southern United States, where entrenched racism meant that black colleges were especially needed. Today there are four historically black colleges in Florida.
Public HBCU in Florida: Florida A&M University
Founded in 1887, Florida A&M University is Florida's only public HBCU. It is in the state capital of Tallahassee. A&M stands for agricultural and mechanical, but today students in Florida A&M study a variety of topics. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, FAMU offers 62 bachelor's degrees, 11 Ph.D. programs, two professional degrees and 36 master's degrees. A research institution, FAMU receives about $54 million in research funding every year.
Florida A&M University 1500 Wahnish Way Tallahassee, FL 32307 850-599-3000 famu.edu
Originally named The Daytona Educational and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls, Bethune-Cookman University opened its doors in 1904. Now coed, B-CU was accredited in 1970 by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. As of 2010, B-CU houses seven academic schools, which offer 35 undergraduate programs and a master’s program in transformative leadership. A private school, B-CU provides scholarships and financial aid to reduce tuition costs.
Bethune-Cookman University 640 Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard Daytona Beach, FL 32114 386-481-2000 bethune.cookman.edu
Edward Waters College
Established in 1866 to educate freed slaves, Edward Waters College is Florida's oldest HBCU. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools granted four-year accreditation to the school in 1979. Home to roughly 800 students, Edward Waters College offers nine undergraduate degrees as of 2010. The curriculum consists of general education courses, mission courses, major requirements and electives.
Edward Waters College 1658 Kings Road Jacksonville, FL 32209-6199 904-470-8000 ewc.edu
Florida Memorial University
Founded in 1879, Florida Memorial University is one of The United Negro College Fund's 39 member institutions. Located in Miami Gardens, Florida Memorial University educates about 1,800 students each year. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools granted accreditation to Florida Memorial University, and the school offers 44 undergraduate and four graduate programs. An honors program is available to students seeking the highest level of challenge.
Florida Memorial University 15800 N.W. 42nd Ave. Miami Gardens, FL 33054 305-626-3600 fmuniv.edu
Therese Rochon is a college student and freelance writer from St. Louis. She is studying English and Spanish literature at Washington University and plans to attend law school in the future. She speaks two languages and, in 2011, will au pair in Europe to learn two more languages. She has been writing online since 2005.