Lincoln University was founded in 1886 by the officers and soldiers of the 62nd and 65th United States Colored Infantry of the Civil War. It was founded with the purpose of educating freed African Americans in the state of Missouri. The university, originally named the Lincoln Institute, is one of many historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) across the country. All of these schools, however, have the same goal: providing quality education for African American students.
Today, black Americans are choosing to attend HBCUs less and less. 105 HBCUs across the country educate 11 percent of black college students, according to the University of Pennsylvania Scholarly Commons.
And at LU, 53 percent of the student body is white. In terms of LU's staff, only 36 of 184 faculty members belonged to a minority group, according to an article by The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
This statistic is not out of the ordinary for LU—the student body has held a white majority for nearly three decades, according to the LU Library Archives.
This fall, black students are in the majority once again. Due to this recent statistic, our team of four journalists from the Missouri School of Journalism were interested in the student body's continuously evolving racial dynamic.
We spent the past week interviewing the students of LU. We asked students to tell us why they think HBCUs are so important today. We also held conversations with them about the current campus culture, given its diverse student body—especially compared to other HBCUs across the country.
As you visit this page, please click on any of the eight interviews of the students. The play button in the bottom of the photos will play soundbites of their interviews. If you click on a portrait of a student, the website will take you to a written version of their quote.