In the midst of a terse national conversation about police violence against Black Americans came news that Morehouse College, my alma mater and the nation's only all-male historically Black college, welcomed one of its largest freshman classes.
Morehouse is not alone in seeing a surge in admissions in the past year. EDU Inc., which administers Common Black College Application, an online tool used to apply to 42 of the more than 100 historically Black colleges and universities with a single form, processed 10 percent more applications for the 2015-2016 school year than last year. President Robert Mason says that after a year of news of police killings of young Black Americans, Black students—Black males in particular—are looking for safe spaces.
Newsweek has run two pieces in the past few weeks declaring “Black Colleges Matter.” Aside from debating the academic value of HBCUs and documenting their traditions, which The New York Times did recently, it’s important that these schools are also acknowledged for the unique safety and security they offer young Black people.
“I think it can reasonably be concluded that safety factors into the decision-making process when students are deciding what college to attend,” Mason said. “I would contend that the heightened sense of fear concerning the safety of Black males has given impetus to parents now employing the same kind of logic that is used to determine if a college and the surrounding area is safe enough to allow their daughters to attend. Before the increased media coverage of violence against Black males and the national dialogue that has ensued, I don't think safety was as much of a concern for black males when deciding what college to attend.”