Tale of 2 HBCUs: One enjoying a boom, one fending off doom


Founded by Quakers in 1838, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania is the nation’s oldest historically black college. 

North Carolina A&T State, created in 1890 by an act of the state Legislature, is the nation’s largest historically black college.

» FULL COVERAGE: HBCUs: A Threatened Heritage

Both are public schools. But A&T is booming, and Cheyney is struggling. Enrollment at A&T now is nearing 12,000, and incoming freshmen have a GPA of 3.5. Enrollment at Cheyney declined more than 50 percent from 2010 to 2015, and the school’s accrediting agency has placed it on probation.

For our special series “HBCUs: A Threatened Heritage,” the AJC’s Ernie Suggs visited both schools and tells their stories. Find out how A&T became a powerhouse, and how Cheyney found itself in such difficulty



Next Up in Historically Black Colleges & Universities

Civil rights hero, Rita Samuels, rose to White House consultant
Civil rights hero, Rita Samuels, rose to White House consultant

You know, I just made it very clear to the governor that I did not represent the total black community, that I was black and I had my own background, my own training and experience. And whatever answer I gave to him would be based on all of those things. And the way I thought that we should work would be to have me call up some people, you know, and...
Arthur McAfee was longtime Morehouse basketball coach, athletic director
Arthur McAfee was longtime Morehouse basketball coach, athletic director

There is no actual proof that Spike Lee tried out for the Morehouse College basketball team in the late 1970s. Further, it can’t be confirmed that Coach Arthur McAfee Jr. launched a legendary film career by looking at the 5-5 Lee and saying, “I want you to concentrate on something that you have as much passion about as playing basketball...
Claflin University: Tiny South Carolina school shoots for the stars
Claflin University: Tiny South Carolina school shoots for the stars

NOTE: This is one of two articles that describe the opposite fortunes of two HBCUs – Claflin University, which is flourishing, and Paine College, which is struggling to keep its accreditation.  When Henry N. Tisdale interviewed to become the president of Claflin College in 1994, he had one demand. At the time, the state’s...
HBCU student finds a dream reborn by transferring to Clark Atlanta
HBCU student finds a dream reborn by transferring to Clark Atlanta

NOTE: Kendall Youngblood and Delanie Mason made different choices when it came to deciding whether to attend an HBCU. This is one of two articles that profile the women and explain their decisions. Read Delanie’s story here. Camille Youngblood has seen significant changes in her younger sister, Kendall, in the past two years. Kendall...
Quiz: How well do you know HBCUs?
Quiz: How well do you know HBCUs?

You think you know your historically black colleges and universities? Test your knowledge below. AJC INVESTIGATION: For more information about the problems many HBCUs face, the unique role they play in students’ lives, and the perils that lie ahead, check out the AJC’s special three-part series “HBCUs: A Threatened Heritage.&rdquo...
More Stories