The HBCU Council: The Foundation of Our Mission
The HBCU Council: A Faith-Based Beginning
The HBCU Council : Making a Difference for a Bright Future
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) were established in the late 1800's to educate and transition African Americans into society upon the end of slavery. Black people, who at that time were primarily slaves, had been deprived of access to virtually every level of formal learning. Prior to these schools being established, the opportunity for an African American to receive a higher education was rare. Christian churches played a key role in the establishment of HBCUs incorporated in 1854. Ashmun Institute (now Lincoln University in Pennsylvania) was technically the first HBCU.
The HBCU Council of Shiloh Baptist Church is proud to serve as a pillar of the community in the service of advancing education since 2003.
After the summer of 2002, in accordance with the Progressive National Baptist Convention's resolution to promote, support and encourage awareness of the contributions and rich historical legacies of our historically Black Colleges and Universities, the Rev. Dr. Wallace Charles Smith, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church, was approached about starting an HBCU Council. With the blessings of the pastor, the HBCU Council of Shiloh Baptist Church was formed.
One of the first big projects of the HBCU Council was a banquet that featured television and radio personality Tavis Smiley (author of the book "Keeping the Faith"). The Tom Joyner Foundation and the Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton were honored for their programs supporting HBCUs. This was accomplished amidst a major snow storm that had blanketed the Washington metropolitan area! The storm held up and we were blessed and highly favored to still have our first banquet attended by more than 250 people! The celebration continued on that Sunday, which became known as “HBCU Sunday.” The minister for worship service was Rev. Dr. Harry S. Wright, Pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Brooklyn, New York, and the world renowned Morgan State University Choir was our featured guest choir. Ultimately, the storm prevailed and the HBCU Sunday was postponed. However, we still moved ahead!
In 2013, the HBCU Council of Shiloh Baptist Church, will celebrate ten wonderfully blessed years. Through the support of Council members, the Shiloh family and others, the HBCU Council is still going strong.
Some of the highlights of the HBCU Council are:
- HBCU Sunday, which features a guest minister and choir from an HBCU;
- A plethora of scholarships for students attending an HBCU, with scholarships that are awarded for superior academics, financial needs, and in subject-matter areas such as music, architecture and engineering and others.
- SAT and college preparedness workshops are sponsored annually by the Princeton Review and Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
- Other activities include an annual fundraiser called a “Sweet White Jazzy Night Affair”;
- Partnerships with the D.C. chapter of Morehouse that include a Morehouse Glee Club Concert and Morehouse Observance Sunday;
- A Morgan State University Choir Concert, produced in partnership with the Morgan State Alumni Association;
- An annual school supply and book drive; and an annual shopping trip.
The HBCU Council of Shiloh is a supporter of
- The White House Initiative on HBCUs,
- The National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) conference
- And the newly formed HBCU Alliance of Washington, DC.
The question is often asked whether HBCUs are still necessary. HBCUs have a unique history, with a powerful legacy that is deeply rooted in American history. In this regard, it is understandable that the HBCU Council has become an important part of the ongoing legacy of Shiloh Baptist Church. The HBCU Council of Shiloh Baptist Church will continue to keep the hopes and dreams of our Historically Black Colleges and Universities alive.
HBCU Council Members at the Annual Scholarship Event "Sweet White Jazzy Night"
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