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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

STEM Initiatives at HBCUs: Uplift and Activism at Work

Abstract

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) were established to educate Africans Americans. Initially founded in the nineteenth century, these schools both taught and empowered a population that was largely excluded from American higher education. In the years immediately following the American Civil War, the number of HBCUs increased dramatically as the newly freedmen determined to improve themselves and their lives through the pursuit of education. Training in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (or STEM) fields accounts for a great deal of the professional success that African Americans have historically enjoyed. One un-explored dimension of the work done by HBCUs relates to the STEM fields’ efforts in pursuit of social justice. Relatively little is known about the efforts of HBCUs to identify and address issues that disproportionately impact African American communities, including increased instances of disease and environmental racism. This paper asserts that the scientific and technological undertakings of many of these institutions reflect a continuation of their historic commitment to uplift and social activism. STEM initiatives not only serve to advance the agenda of innovation that many universities seek to promote, but also benefit the local communities.

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