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“Ethnic Heritage Museum Celebrates the History of HBCUs”

Rockford, IL – It’s back to school time and the African American Gallery will showcase its newest exhibit “Celebrating the History of HBCUs” on Sunday Sept. 18th.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before 1964 with the intention of primarily serving the African American community.

Most HBCUs were established after the American Civil War, often with the assistance of northern religious missionary organizations. Howard University, Tuskegee University and Morehouse University are some of the more familiar schools.   However, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania (1837) and Lincoln University in Pennsylvania (1854) , Wilberforce University in Ohio (1856) were established for blacks before the American Civil War. Established in 1865, Shaw University was the first HBCU in the South to be established after the Civil War.

Of the 107 HBCU institutions in the United States today, 27 offer doctoral programs and 52 provide graduate degree programs at the Master’s level. At the undergraduate level, 83 of the HBCUs offer a bachelor’s degree program and 38 of these schools offer associate degrees. HBCUs are distinctive institutions in that they make up only 3% of the nation’s institutions of higher learning.

Along with spotlighting the history of HBCUs, the exhibit will enlighten high school age students and their parents of some of the benefits of attending HBCUs.  In addition, it spotlights some of Rockford’s residents who have attended a HBCU.  Also included in the exhibit is archival information and photos of Rockfordians who attend Tuskegee University in the 1920s.

The African American Gallery of the Ethnic Heritage Museum will host a special program on Sunday, Sept 18th at 3:00 PM.  This program is designed to give students and parents information needed to attend a HBCU.  Tiana McCall (Cooper), an educational enthusiast and community energizer will discuss field trip opportunities for local students to visit some of these beautiful campuses.

The Ethnic Heritage Museum located at 1129 South Main Street is unique in its blend of ethnic groups: African American, Hispanic, Irish, Italian, Lithuanian and Polish. A visit to each gallery will enlighten visitors to their cultural history and their contributions to life in Rockford.

“Celebrating the History of HBCUs” exhibit will be on display every Sunday from 2:00-4:00 PM until mid-November. Bring your whole family to view this amazing exhibit. The exhibit is perfect for high school juniors and senior interested in furthering their education.

Admission to the Museum is $5 individual, $3 student or $10 for families or free to EHM members. Tours can be arranged by contacting the museum at 815/962-7402.

Parking for the Ethnic Heritage Museum is available in the parking lot on the corner of Morgan and Main Streets next to the Graham-Ginestra House, entrance thru the alley next to EHM.

For more information visit our website at or email us at or phone 815/962-7402. The museum is handicap accessible.

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