Kansas City, MO – Historically black colleges and universities were founded in the United States during a time when segregation and Jim Crow excluded blacks from higher education. Today, there are 104 HBCUs, representing just 3% of the nation's colleges and universities. Yet they graduate nearly 30% of African Americans who earn undergraduate degrees.
This past February, President Barack Obama gave HBCUs a boost: a 5% increase in federal funding and an executive order to strengthen the White House Initiative on HBCUs.
But HBCUs face some daunting challenges: declining enrollment, management issues and financial instability. An in an era when higher education is no longer segregated, some question if there is still a need for HBCUs?
To explore the answer to this question, KCUR's Susan B. Wilson talked with architect John Fleming, who recently published a guide to called HBCU Today. He says that when he retired, his son urged him to take on a new venture.