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Master of Arts (MA)




In 2010 President Barack Obama announced a 98 million dollar federal funding increase in the proposed 2011 national budget for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). With such an amount of money earmarked for the HBCU, questions arise about the importance of the HBCU in a seemingly integrated 21st century American college and education system. One approach to answering the questions is to look at the aims and outcomes of HBCUs during the 20th century, a time period when most were producing college graduates and compare them to the current aims and outcomes of the HBCUs, to determine the rate of progression. A major direction for past HBCU research has centered on how policy and leadership style have addressed student needs and whether or not those needs are presently relevant for the HBCU population.

However, what the research has failed to do is specifically look at the intentions and effects of student life as well as student life programming for measurement of HBCU purpose and value. Through the archival research of Hampton University's student-facing publications such as student handbooks and student newspapers this study aims to uncover the original aims and goals of the HBCU. The aims and goals are highlighted through pinpointing the institutionally advanced norms. An analysis of this material indicates that the institutionally advanced norms of the HBCU, according to student voice, during the 20th century aimed to combat the stigma of the "shiftless Negro" stereotype by emphasizing the dignity of labor, mandated Christianity, and assimilation while depreciating the value of political and social rights . The research also indicated that student response to these norms shifted from compliance to protest over time. Notably absent from the research are discussions of suffrage and HBCU curriculum. This study is a part of a rising body of research observing the need for minority institutions, specifically the HBCU. In using the generally unused source of student handbooks and HBCU student publications from 1930-1940; this project highlights the importance of student voice in assessing the aims and outcomes of the institutions.

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