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High profile grads and a yearning for respite have helped boost HBCU applications

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High profile grads and a yearning for respite have helped boost HBCU applications

In this Saturday, May 13, 2017 photo, graduates hold up their hands during a commencement ceremony at Dillard University in New Orleans. With an enrollment of 1,200, Dillard ranks second in the country in black physics undergrads. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Gerald Herbert/AP

At one point, over 90% of African Americans with a college degree obtained it from an HBCU. But in the decades following the legal dismantling of segregation, enrollment declined at HBCUs.

Recently, some HBCUs have seen a significant rise in applications. The boost could be due to more funding, celebrity students, or famous HBCU grads like Vice President Kamala Harris.

But informal conversations with Black students and their families point to something even more powerful: HBCUs are a safe and nurturing space to learn in a time of increasing anti-Black racism.

Host Michel Martin speaks with Walter Kimbrough, the past president of two historically Black institutions - Philander Smith College and Dillard University - and the interim executive director of the Black Men's Research Institute at Morehouse College.

In participating regions, you’ll also hear a local news segment to help you make sense of what’s going on in your community.

Email us at considerthis@npr.org.

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