Whenever the topic of our Historically Black Colleges and Universities comes up, invariably the thoughts of famous alumni are top of mind. Names like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson, Oprah Winfrey, Taraji P. Henson, Spike Lee, Alice Walker, Langston Hughes, Marian Wright Edleman and countless others resonate –as they should.

We also make note of the HBCU titans who helped elevate our schools to their proper place in society, and throughout the world. People like Mary McLeod Bethune, Booker T. Washington, Thurgood Marshall, Dr. Benjamin E. Mays and Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole hold a special place for us all. Beyond that, we wax poetic about the regal and dynamic marching bands, the majestic Homecomings, the fabled Greek-lettered organizations and other aspects of HBCU life and history that we have made uniquely our own. And of course we cite the untold numbers of graduates our schools have birthed; the countless teachers, engineers, doctors, lawyers, fine artists, scientists, scholars, writers, business titans, politicians and leaders in every vein of professional life, known and unknown, that got their start at one or more of our Black colleges.

However, what is often missing in the broader discussions, and what many of us take for granted, is the power of the individual experiences we all had at our HBCU. Experiences, that while unique unto themselves, truly tell our collective story.

A few years ago, Black college grads Tia C.M. Tyree, Ph.D., and Christopher D. Cathcart combined to edit a collection of essays by HBCU alumni that would serve as a modest, heartfelt effort in telling those stories. HBCU Experience – The Book details experiences from various aspects of HBCU life as lived by the graduates themselves. Such realities as dorm life, dating, work study, protest, road trips, pledging, sports and much more are detailed in Vol.1, and are on tap to be highlighted again in Vol.2, since no one book could even scratch the surface of all we have to share.

HBCU Experience – The Book celebrates the Black College Experience; we welcome your participation in this important project, and in support of all things HBCU.

Visit the Submissions Page for Details - Make sure Your School and Story are Included in VOl. 2
Ring Any Bells?

Road Trips



Band Life

Dorm living

Work Study



Mentor/Mentee - Relationships

Off-Campus Living

Exchange Programs

Spring Break

Parties and Social Life

The Side Hustle


Tragedy & Crisis

Family Support




...and much more!


Vol. 2 is

Under Construction

Because there was just no way to put all our wonderful HBCU stories in one singular edition, work on Volume 2 is underway.

The lifeblood of our schools is best defined by the hopes and dreams; the pitfalls and the perils; the triumphs, trials, and tribulations of those who walked the hallowed halls of our HBCUs.

As caretakers of our rich, collective history, we must ensure that our stories remain among the most reliable means to convey the importance of our experiences and, through that, our institutions overall. These books are but a small, yet earnest effort to that end.

If you attended an HBCU, please consider contributing an essay to this important collection. Become a part of this movement, visit the Submission Guidelines page for details.

Consider it homework :-).

Support Our HBUCs




What would our schools be without our teams battling it out in our name? Did you lace up at school, defend your ground and bring the glory back to your beloved institution? Tales of sports and other college activities will always be popular, please share yours with us. 

Pictured here is Mr. John T. Crawford, AKA "T-Bone," a force on Johnson C. Smiths's basketball team, circa 1960.

He was kind enough to contribute an essay to Vol. 1.



How many of you met Mr./Mrs. right at your HBCU? Also, how many Mr./Mrs. wrongs paved the way to your keeper? The stories of love found, lost, and "never shoulda happen" are reader favorites. Don't be afraid, you can always change the names to protect the innocent (or not so innocent), but dating was without doubt a major part of our HBCU experience. Go head, get that story off your chest

and into Vol. 2.


Life on "The Yard" is a central theme of the HBCU experience. Hanging with friends, going to class (or not), hitting the library or just chilling, we all can relate. In fact, campus life extends to dorm living, the nearby neighborhood (corner store visits anyone?) and all things associated with that small city known as your college or university. It also includes running for student government, joining a club, registering for class, securing financial aid, festivals and events, and so much more. There's a never-ending flow of essays streaming from "Yard" life – share one or more of yours.

Chris & Manotti_edited.jpg


Be it taking on our own college administrations, the local government and/or businesses, or the powers that be in Washington, DC, students at our Black colleges have often set the national tone for "fighting the power." Our voices and energy helped desegregate the South, free Mandela and assert that Black Lives do indeed matter, among so many other historic and important issues facing our campuses, communities, and nation. We have stood for what we thought was right, often against tremendous odds. And without question, these make for some of the best stories.


Greek life is a major part of the Black College experience. With nearly all of the "Devine Nine" Greek-lettered sororities and fraternities getting their start at an HBCU, we most definitely take particular pride in these great organizations.

T'Keyah Crystal Keymah - Spg 83_edited.j


And while most HBCU students are not members of these groups, we all feel a special bond with them and appreciate the role they played during our college experiences, and well beyond. Your greek-life story is one we all love to read.

Pictured is renowned actress T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh, a proud graduate of Florida A&M University and contributor to Vol. 1. She is a tireless supporter of our Black colleges.


While many of our experiences differ in various ways, there are some glaring similarities. None are as important as the role the professors, administrators, and staff played in our journey through school. College can be a tough place to negotiate without the help of a caring mentor or advisor, be that their official role at the institution or one they took on out of pure concern for the students. We all have tales of someone taking interest in us and helping us overcome obstacles. Please share yours.



You arrive at school as total strangers, and often from different parts of the country, or even the globe, but leave as best of friends and celebrate those friendships for the rest of your lives. 

Stories of friends made and lives changed cover all aspects of HBCU life and living. Your story is our story, and it's worth telling.

Our HBCUs remain as vital today as they were more than 100 years ago. 

Your Story IS our Story

The Blacker the College, the Sweeter the Knowledge!

Whatcha Got 2 Say?

Contact us Today.


@ccathcartspeaks (Twitter)

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