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5 HBCUs That Shine a Light on Black History in Everyday Content

Tougaloo College How did Tougaloo College, a small, private HBCU on the edge of Jackson, Mississippi become a hub and a refuge for civil rights act...

Tougaloo College

How did Tougaloo College, a small, private HBCU on the edge of Jackson, Mississippi become a hub and a refuge for civil rights activism? An interracial abolitionist Christian group, the American Missionary Association (AMA), believed education was the key to freedom for enslaved people. In 1869, they bought a 5-acre plantation and established a school where discrimination of any kind wasn’t to be tolerated. Today, Tougaloo College continues to unpack and research this sordid history as a member of the Universities Studying Slavery (USS) consortium.

Because education access is the fundamental mission of Tougaloo College, a partnership with Brown University was established at the height of the Civil Rights movement (1964), to provide diverse academic and cultural opportunities to one another’s students. According to the website, “In the over 50 years since its creation, more than 500 individuals have participated in our various programs and projects.” Recently, the longstanding academic partnership program received a generous $10 million dollar gift from a Netflix CEO and producer to help provide financial scholarships to students.

Though the school is small, it hosts a mighty roster of cultural pioneers. In fact, a Tougaloo College professor, wealthy benefactors, and a few of his artsy peers developed Mississippi’s first modern art collection. According to a Forbes article, “In 1963, a number of artists, critics, and curators from New York worked with Ronald Schnell, a professor of art at Tougaloo, to build the first collection of Modern art in Mississippi. The collection’s founders sought ‘an interracial oasis in which the fine arts are the focus and magnet.’” If you want to learn more about the collection’s history, there’s a beautiful exhibit dedicated to it–featuring 35 artworks now on display through May 14, 2023 at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

Tougaloo College’s revolutionary origins and continued evolution exemplify why both allies and storytelling are crucial to the institution’s growth.

Check out visuals from recent noteworthy moments celebrated by the Tougaloo College community:

Curious how activism at Tougaloo College continues beyond #BlackHistoryMonth? Follow the school on social media to find out about their upcoming events and stay up to date with their latest stories.

Show Love for HBCUs

Regardless of your reason for reading this today—whether you want to attend or work for an HBCU, hope to explore the historical importance of HBCUs in America, or are looking to learn how to authentically celebrate different cultures in your brand’s content, we hope you enjoyed learning how our HBCU clients celebrate Black history through visual storytelling every day.

P.S. We see you, Fisk University’s Naimah Muhammad—the first to represent an HBCU in an NCAA gymnastics competition and to wear tights during a competition!

Keep clapping for Howard University’s all-Black men’s swim team! Congratulations to them for winning the Northeast Conference title—their first competition title win in over 30 years! To make matters even more challenging: out of all 107 HBCUs, Howard University’s swim program is the only one that remains. Instead of doing as Shirley Chisolm said and bringing a folding chair to a table that had no seat for them, Howard’s all-Black men’s swim team turned the table into an ocean and dove in head first! THAT’S making history.

If you have a brand story to share, let us know! Use #PSYouGottaSeeThis and tag us on social media (@PSforBrands on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, @PhotoShelter on LinkedIn).

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