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Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have in the past and continue to produce an exceptional number of African-American leaders.


W. E. B. DuBois (Fisk)
Booker T. Washington (Hampton)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Morehouse)
Mary McLeod Bethune (Barber-Scotia)
Rosa Parks (Alabama State)
Thurgood Marshall (Lincoln)
A. Philip Randolph (Bethune-Cookman)
James Weldon Johnson (Clark Atlanta)
Rev. Joseph Lowery (Knoxville College)
Rev. Ralph Abernathy (Alabama State)
Rev. Jesse L. Jackson (North Carolina A&T)
Minister Louis Farrakhan (Winston-Salem State)
James Farmer (Wiley)
Whitney M. Young (Kentucky State)
John Lewis (Fisk)
Bishop T.D. Jakes (West Virginia State)
Oprah Winfrey (Tennessee State)
Former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder (Virginia Union)
Rev. Andrew Young (Dillard and Howard)
Astronaut Ronald E. McNair (North Carolina A&T)
Former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher (Morehouse)
Marian Wright Edelman (Spelman)
Alonzo “Jake” Gaither (Knoxville College)
Eddie Robinson (Grambling)
Clarence “Big House” Gaines (Morgan State)
Walter Payton (Jackson State)
Jerry Rice (Mississippi Valley)
Ralph Ellison (Tuskegee)
Toni Morrison (Howard)
Medgar and Myrlie Evers (Alcorn)
Ed Bradley (Cheyney State)
Keenan Ivory Wayans (Tuskegee)
Phylicia Rashad (Howard)
Keisha Knight Pulliam (Spelman)
Pam Oliver (Florida A&M)
Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs (Howard)
Leontyne Price (Wilberforce)
Nancy Wilson (Central State)
Ruben Studdard (Alabama A&M)
Little Richard (Oakwood)
Erykah Badu (Grambling)
Attorney Willie Gary (Shaw)
Common (Florida A&M)
Earl Graves Sr. (Morgan State)
Avery Johnson (Southern)


Although HBCUs represent only 3 percent of the nation’s universities, they produce 23.6 percent of all bachelor’s degrees earned by African-Americans. Their contribution is even greater in the physical, mathematical, biological and agricultural sciences, where HBCUs account for more than 40 percent of bachelor’s degrees earned by African-Americans.
HBCUs are defined by Congress as educational institutions that existed prior to 1964 with the primary purpose of educating African-American students. They are:

 
Source: White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities