“Without trying to disrespect anybody’s beliefs, [Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X] are our prophets for our generation,” Kweli said. “In the scope of history, they haven’t been gone for too long. Someone asked me ‘Do you think the spirit of King is in hip-hop?’ And if you think about it, hip-hop wouldn’t exist without King. Our whole movement is based on Dr. King and Malcolm X.”
Tuskegee University originally called the Negro Normal School in Tuskegee was founded in a one room shanty, near Butler Chapel AME Zion Church, by Dr. Booker T. Washington on July 4, 1881.
Grambling State University opened on November 1, 1901 as the Colored Industrial and Agricultural School. It was founded by the North Louisiana Colored Agriculture Relief Association, organized in 1896 by a group of African-American farmers who wanted to organize and operate a school for African Americans in their region of the state.
In 1867, two years after the Civil War ended, Augusta Institute was established in the basement of Springfield Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga. Founded in 1787, Springfield Baptist is the oldest independent African American church in the United States. The school’s primary purpose was to prepare black men for the ministry and teaching. Today, Augusta Institute is Morehouse College, which is located on a 66-acre campus in Atlanta and enjoys an international reputation for producing leaders who have influenced national and world history.
N.C. A&T was established as the A. and M. College for the “Colored Race” by an act of the General Assembly of North Carolina ratified March 9, 1891. It was in the fall of 1890, when the North Carolina General Assembly enacted a second Morrill Act that mandated a separate college for the colored race.
Spelman, one of the nation’s most highly regarded colleges for women, was founded by Sophia B. Packard and Harriet E. Giles, two friends who were commissioned in 1879 by the Woman’s American Baptist Home Mission Society to study the living conditions “among the freedmen of the South.” Appalled by the lack of educational opportunity for Black women, the missionaries returned to Boston determined to effect change. On April 11, 1881, they opened a school in the basement of Atlanta’s Friendship Baptist Church with $100 provided by the congregation of the First Baptist Church of Medford, Massachusetts. The first eleven pupils, ten women and one girl, were mostly ex-slaves, determined to learn to read the Bible and write.
Southern University and A&M College had its beginning in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1880 when a group of Black politicians, led by former U.S. Senator P.B.S. Pinchback of New Orleans; a distinguished legislator, T.T. Allain of Iberville; and Henry Demas of St. John Parish petitioned the State Constitutional Convention to establish a school of higher learning for “colored” people. As a result of this petition, Southern University came into existence on April 10, 1880, by the passage of ACT 87 of the Louisiana General Assembly. This was the date on which funds were appropriated by the State of Louisiana for the establishment of an institution of higher learning for African Americans.
Tennessee State University is a comprehensive urban coeducational land-grant university founded in 1912 in Nashville, Tenn. The 500-acre main campus, with more than 65 buildings, is located in a residential setting; the Avon Williams Campus is located downtown, near the center of the Nashville business and government district.
Through successive stages, TSU has developed from a normal school for Negroes to its current status as a national university with students from 42 states and 45 countries. The present-day Tennessee State University exists as a result of the merger on July 1, 1979, of Tennessee State University and the former University of Tennessee at Nashville.