Media Coverage of Historically Black Colleges and Universities

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Marybeth Gasman

Graduate School of Education

University of Pennsylvania

Media reports to the contrary, now is not the time to ring the death knell for historically black colleges and universities, Dr. Gasman says.

"Yes, there are some historically black colleges that aren't serving the needs of their students, and probably some that need to close.  But you can say the same thing about any number of predominantly white institutions," she says.

Dr. Gasman has been studying newspaper articles about HBCUs written since 1954 and says the theme that comes up most often is "failure."

"Xavier University is a small school but produces more black medical school students than any other school.  Nine out of 10 African-American students who go on to earn Ph.D.s get their undergraduate degrees at HBCUs.  So how can we label this system a failure?" Dr. Gasman asks.

A historian of higher education, Dr. Gasman is currently working on "Envisioning Black Colleges: A History of the United Negro College Fund."