The Nation’s First 10 Established HBCUs

In recognition of Black History Month, this week’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up honors the first ten established HBCUs.

1) Cheyney University of Pennsylvania

The first and oldest HBCU, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania was founded in 1837. Philanthropist Richard Humphreys donated money to create this institution specifically for black students because he witnessed the struggles and challenges that they were facing. Today Cheyney represents students from all races, cultures, and nationalities entering various career fields.

2) University of the District of Columbia


The University of the District of Columbia was founded in 1851. It is the only public university in our nation’s capital and the only land grant university in the United States.

3) Lincoln University of Pennsylvania


Formally known as Ashmun Institute, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania is the first degree granting HBCU in the nation to provide arts and sciences for black males. In 1866 the institution was later renamed Lincoln University to honor President Abraham Lincoln. Just within its first 100 years, Lincoln University graduated an estimate of 20 percent of black physicians and more than 10 percent black attorneys in the nation.

4) Wilberforce University

Wilberforce University was founded in 1856 long before the Civil War. It is the nation’s oldest private HBCU and the first to be owned and run by African Americans.

5) Harris Stowe State University

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Founded in 1857,  Harris Stowe State University is the first public teacher education institution just west of the Mississippi River. The university continues to prepare students to become educators with their various teacher education programs.

6) LeMoyne-Owen College


LeMoyne College and Owen College merged together in 1968 to better serve black students in the Mid-South. Both colleges shared similar values and better reinforced the purpose to combining a liberal arts education with career training. Together as one, LeMoyne-Owen College aims to provide an excellent liberal arts education for their students.

7) Virginia Union University

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Founded in 1865, Virginia Union University provided newly emancipated enslaved blacks the opportunity for an education. The four institution; Richmond Theological Seminary, Wayland Seminary, Hartshorn Memorial College, and Storer College, merged together as VUU. Today it offers students educational opportunities advancement with a commitment to excellence and diversity.

8) Bowie State University


Bowie State University was founded in 1865. It is the oldest HBCU in Maryland providing a high quality and affordable education for their students.

9) Clark University

Clark Atlanta
Clark Atlanta University is a merger of Atlanta University, the first graduate school established for blacks and Clark College, the first four-year liberal arts institution to serve predominantly black students. Today Clark Atlanta is one of the nation’s leading research institutions offering degrees from bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate levels.

10) Shaw University


Shaw University is the first HBCU in the south. This private liberal arts institution is the first college in North Carolina to offer a four-year medical school and the first to open its doors to women.

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