Historically Black Colleges and Universities

What acts were passed by Congress to fund land-grant colleges?

The Morrill Act of 1862 provided federal land-grant funds for higher education. In 1890 Congress passed the second Morrill Act, also known as the Land Grant Act of 1890. The second act stipulated that no federal aid could be provided for the creation or maintenance of any white agricultural and mechanical school unless that state also provided for a similar school for blacks. As a result, a system of separate black land-grant institutions developed, which became the basis of black higher education in the South. They were unequal to the traditional white institutions in the amount of funding they received. As well, they were excluded from the benefits of agricultural extension services and experiment stations. Although these schools now offer a variety of curricular programs, they often directly indicate their early and continuing emphasis on agricultural, industrial, mechanical, or technical interests by incorporating these subjects in their names: “A&T” for North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University or “A&M” for Alabama A&M, Florida, Prairie View and Southern Agricultural and Mechanical Universities. The land-grant schools also developed a research mission with results that would aid government as well as industry. Their initial curricular offerings represented a radical departure from the classical liberal arts offerings seen in other Historically Black Colleges and Universities established before them, where history, law, and theology were emphasized.


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