HBCUs share many common traits. They share a history rooted in creating opportunities for African Americans excluded from other schools. They share a legacy of fighting for justice. They share traditions such as homecoming, campus queens and marching bands. And they all work to produce exceptional graduates who will continue the struggle for equality.
But for all they share, each HBCU has something all its own. Today, we celebrate the things that make each HBCU unique. These facts highlight things in each HBCU’s history, recent past, or near future that add to its distinction.
Alabama A&M University, Normal, AL
Alabama A&M is the first HBCU to have its own beer, a light lager called Alma Mater.
Alabama State University, Montgomery, AL
Rappers 2 Chainz and Lil Yachty both attended Alabama State.
Albany State University, Albany, GA
Albany State’s Center for the African American Male studies ways to improve academic success for Georgia’s Black male students.
Alcorn State University, Lorman, MS
Civil rights icon Medgar Evers graduated from Alcorn in 1948.
Allen University, Columbia, SC
The school is renovating the Carter Theater, a historic landmark that played a major role in Columbia, SC’s Black community during segregation.
American Baptist College, Nashville, TN
The late Congressman and civil rights activist, John R. Lewis, is an alum.
Arkansas Baptist College, Little Rock, AR
It’s the only Baptist-affiliated HBCU west of the Mississippi River.
Benedict College, Columbia, SC
Benedict’s Women’s Business Center helps socially and economically disadvantaged female entrepreneurs throughout South Carolina.
Bennett College, Greensboro, NC
When Bennett hired Dr. Willa B. Player in 1955, she became the first African American woman to serve as president of a four-year college.
Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona, Beach, FL
The Bethune-Cookman Marching Wildcats have their own Netflix show, “Marching Orders.”
Bishop State Community College, Mobile, AL
The school hosts the Girls Learning About Manufacturing (GLAM) program to teach girls about manufacturing careers.
Bluefield State University, Bluefield, WV
In recent years, Bluefield has been recognized as perhaps the fastest-growing college in West Virginia.
Bowie State University, Bowie, MD
Actor Jovan Adepo, rapper Wale and singers Toni Braxton and Towanda Braxton all attended Bowie State.
Central State University, Wilberforce, OH
Proving the resilience of HBCU communities, after a tornado destroyed 80% of its campus in 1974, Central State resumed classes just two weeks later.
Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, Cheney, PA
Cheney is the only HBCU to play in the NCAA Final Four.
Claflin University, Orangeburg, SC
Claflin ranks #1 amongst all HBCUs for alumni giving.
Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA
Clark Atlanta’s picturesque campus has been featured in several movies such as “School Daze,” “Stomp the Yard” and “Drumline.”
Clinton College, Rock Hill, SC
In 2018, Clinton transitioned from a two-year institution to a four-year college.
Coahoma Community College, Clarksdale, MS
Coahoma has won Retool Your School Campus Improvement Grants for five consecutive years.
Coppin State University, Baltimore, MD
After playing for the Coppin State Eagles, Stephanie Ready became the first woman to coach a men’s basketball team in a professional league.
Delaware State University, Dover, DE
In Fall 2023, Delaware State became the first HBCU to offer helicopter flight training.
Denmark Technical College, Denmark, SC
Denmark Tech’s choir has performed for notables such as Congressman James Clyburn, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and President Bill Clinton.
Dillard University, New Orleans, LA
Music legend Ray Charles left Dillard $1 million to establish a professorship in African American culinary history.
Edward Waters University, Jacksonville, FL
This school is Florida’s oldest independent college and oldest HBCU.
Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, NC
It’s the only North Carolina school to offer a four-year degree in Aviation Science and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (a/k/a drones).
Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, NC
Fayetteville State is North Carolina’s oldest school for teachers and the second oldest public university in the state.
Fisk University, Nashville, TN
Fisk University is renowned for its Jubilee Singers, who began touring in the late 1800s to raise funds for the university. They played a crucial role in preserving and popularizing African American spirituals.
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee, FL
Florida A&M is known for The Marching 100, one of the most innovative, prestigious and renowned college marching bands in the country.
Florida Memorial University, Miami Gardens, FL
Famed author Zora Neale Hurston taught at Florida Memorial in the 1940s.
Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley, GA
Fort Valley has a 1,365-acre working farm which serves as a hands-on learning environment for students studying agriculture and related fields.
Gadsden State Community College, Gadsden, AL
Students helped build the first permanent buildings on Gadsden’s campus.
Grambling State University, Grambling, LA
Grambling has produced more NFL players than any other HBCU.
H. Councill Trenholm State Community College, Montgomery, AL
Trenholm State hosts a “Cruise-In Car Show” for classic car enthusiasts that also promotes the school’s automotive programs.
Hampton University, Hampton, VA
Hampton is home to the Emancipation Oak, the tree where the first Southern reading of the Emancipation Proclamation took place in 1863. The tree still stands on campus today.
Harris-Stowe State University, St. Louis, MS
The “Stowe” in the school’s name refers to Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of the anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Howard University, Washington, DC
Five of the Divine Nine organizations – Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma and Zeta Phi Beta – were founded on Howard’s campus.
Huston-Tillotson University, Austin, TX
Before he broke through Major League Baseball’s color barrier, Jackie Robinson served as the athletic director at Huston-Tillotson.
Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, GA
The Center is not one school but a consortium of five seminaries.
J. F. Drake State Community and Technical College, Huntsville, AL
Drake students are working with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center to create building materials that can be used on Earth and in space.
Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Jackson State’s band, the Sonic Boom of the South, is a renowned marching band known for its energetic performances and contributions to the world of HBCU marching bands.
Jarvis Christian University, Hawkins, TX
Jarvis has partnered with Google to help justice-impacted people learn digital skills.
Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, NC
The Golden Bulls’ campus sits on the highest point of Charlotte, NC.
Kentucky State University, Frankfort, KY
Kentucky State hosts the world’s only full-time research program dedicated to the paw-paw, the largest edible fruit native to the U.S.
Lane College, Jackson, TN
Lane College’s first-of-its-kind partnership with CVS created mock-retail pharmacies on campus to enhance learning for pharmacy students.
Langston University, Langston, OK
Famed African American aviatrix Bessie Coleman attended the school.
Lawson State Community College, Birmingham, AL
The Obama Administration awarded Lawson State its “Champion of Change” award in recognition of its successful training programs for low-income and underrepresented students.
LeMoyne-Owen College, Memphis, TN
Members of the LeMoyne-Owen community have been actively involved in efforts to preserve Aretha Franklin’s Memphis birthplace.
Lincoln University, Lincoln University, PA
Lincoln was the first HBCU to grant bachelor’s degrees.
Lincoln University of Missouri, Jefferson City, MO
Tennis legend Althea Gibson taught at Lincoln before going on to win Grand Slam titles.
Livingstone College, Salisbury, NC
The first Black women in North Carolina to receive bachelor’s degrees got them at Livingstone.
Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN
Four of every five Meharry graduates go on to work in underserved rural and urban areas.
Miles College, Fairfield, AL
Miles was the first HBCU to install a Black Lives Matter mural on its campus.
Mississippi Valley State University, Itta Bena, MS
The Valley hosts an annual symposium dedicated to blues legend B.B. King.
Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA
Morehouse recently became the first HBCU to have its own polo team.
Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
Morehouse School of Medicine hosts pipeline programs that support future medical students from kindergarten to post-baccalaureate study.
Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD
Morgan State is the only university in the nation to have its entire campus listed as a national treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Morris College, Sumter, SC
Morris is one of only a few colleges in the nation to offer a degree in esports cybersecurity.
Morris Brown College, Atlanta, GA
Legendary hip-hop group OutKast has a song named for the school.
Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA
Norfolk State has agreements with entities as diverse as The University of the West Indies (UWI, Mona) and the U.S. Coast Guard.
North Carolina A & T State University, Greensboro, NC
The university recently introduced self-driving shuttles that serve the entire campus as well as downtown Greensboro.
North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC
NC Central ranks #1 among HBCUs for producing history Ph.D.’s.
Oakwood University, Huntsville, AL
Oakwood’s efforts to create a healthy campus community made it the first higher education institution to win the Partnership For A Healthier America’s Crystal Apple Award.
Paine College, Augusta, GA
Paine recently made headlines by becoming one of the few Georgia colleges to participate in medical cannabis research.
Paul Quinn College, Dallas, TX
When its football program ended, Paul Quinn converted the field into a farm to address the lack of affordable food in the area.
Philander Smith University, Little Rock, AR
Actor and comedian Deon Cole (“black-ish,” “grown-ish”) earned a degree in theater at Philander Smith.
Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, TX
Prairie View’s renowned goat research program helps farmers in the U.S. as well as in countries such as Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico and Nepal.
Rust College, Holly Springs, MS
To honor its most famous graduate, Rust College will soon open the Ida B. Wells Social Justice and Interpretive Center.
Saint Augustine’s University, Raleigh, NC
Saint Augustine’s recently announced the creation of the first cycling team at an HBCU.
Savannah State University, Savannah, GA
Savannah State is the #1 producer of African American bachelor’s and master’s degree recipients in marine sciences.
Shaw University, Raleigh, NC
Shaw was the first HBCU to admit women.
Shelton State Community College, Tuscaloosa, AL
Shelton State offers scholarships for students entering professions where their gender is underrepresented.
Shorter College, Little Rock, AR
Shorter is the nation’s only private two-year HBCU.
Simmons College of Kentucky, Louisville, KY
Simmons offers college classes for justice-impacted people at three Kentucky correctional facilities.
South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, SC
SC State produces more Black Army officers than any school except West Point.
Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, LA
Southern University Law Center’s Disaster Law Clinic is one of only a few in the nation and the only program at an HBCU law school.
Southern University at New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
This branch of the Southern University System is New Orleans’ only public HBCU.
Southern University at Shreveport, Shreveport, LA
Founded in 1967, this school is the youngest of all HBCUs.
Southwestern Christian College, Terrell, TX
Civil rights legend and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Attorney Fred D. Gray served as the chair of Southwestern Christian’s board for many years.
Spelman College, Atlanta, GA
In “A Different World,” the exterior shots of the Hillman College campus are footage of Spelman College.
St. Philip’s College, San Antonio, TX
St. Philip’s is the only school in the U.S. to be both an HBCU and an HIS (Hispanic Serving Institution).
Stillman College, Tuscaloosa, AL
Stillman is the first HBCU to partner with the U.S. Air Force to provide general education (“gen ed”) credits to airmen.
Talladega College, Talladega, AL
Art on Talladega’s campus includes the historic Amistad murals and there are plans for a Civil Rights Garden with a statuary.
Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN
In 1999, Tennessee State researchers became the first to discover a planet outside of our solar system.
Texas College, Tyler, TX
Actress Irma P. Hall, best known for portraying Big Mama in “Soul Food,” graduated from Texas College.
Texas Southern University, Houston, TX
Named after the father of Beyoncé, the Matthew Knowles Institute at Texas Southern will help students learn about the business side of the entertainment industry.
Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS
In the 1960s, the “Tougaloo Nine” held a read-in to protest segregated libraries in Jackson, Mississippi.
Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL
Tuskegee is famous for the Tuskegee Airmen who served in World War II. These airmen were the first African American military aviators in the U.S. Armed Forces.
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff, AR
This university offers the only Bachelor of Science degree in Aquaculture and Fisheries Sciences in Arkansas.
University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, MD
The “Home of the Hawks” is the only HBCU to offer a degree in PGA Golf Management.
University of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC
This HBCU is the only public university in Washington, DC.
University of the Virgin Islands, Charlotte Amelie, VI
Established in 1962, this Caribbean school is the nation’s youngest four-year HBCU.
Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA
Virginia State created the first Center for Policing Leadership and Social Justice at an HBCU.
Virginia Union University, Richmond, VA
Virginia Union’s Center for the Study of Historically Black Colleges and Universities is the first in the nation.
Virginia University of Lynchburg, Lynchburg, VA
From 1906-08, Mary Rice Hayes-Allen served as the University’s third president – a rarity at the time.
Voorhees University, Denmark, SC
Voorhees was the first HBCU founded by an African American woman.
West Virginia State University, Institute, WV
Katherine Johnson – the renowned mathematician played by Taraji P. Henson in “Hidden Figures” – graduated from this HBCU in 1937.
Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, OH
Wilberforce was the first HBCU owned and operated by African Americans.
Wiley College, Marshall, TX
The Denzel Washington movie “The Great Debaters” is based on events that occurred at Wiley.
Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem, NC
Winston-Salem State is the first HBCU to have a motorsports management program.
Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA
Xavier is the only HBCU affiliated with the Catholic Church.
Every HBCU has something to offer and something to celebrate. These achievements are just one reason why The Home Depot is proud to support HBCUs. We know that HBCUs will continue breaking new ground in unique fields as they create experiences and programs that will benefit their students and communities.