The Military on Black College Campuses

What was the impact of ROTC programs on black college campuses?

Many black students have found it necessary to rely on federal aid to support their college education. Before federal grants were available, the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) established campus-based detachments on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) campuses. This provided the major federal subsidy program for higher education for black men. The men entered campus-commissioning programs that had financial benefits for them once they graduated and entered military service as officers. In the late 1990s there were twenty-one HBCUs that produced approximately one-half of all black ROTC commissions in the army. After the Vietnam War ended, many traditionally white colleges abolished their ROTC programs and the Pentagon responded by adding more such programs to HBCUs. There are claims that ROTC training in these institutions is significant in producing black leaders for American society, and that their importance should not be overlooked.


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