The kick-off for the 19th annual Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) 8 days, 7 nights educational and corporate excursion was held 10 a.m., Saturday, April 8, 2017 at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition headquarters, 930 E. 50th St., Chicago, IL.
The students boarded two buses after the weekly live PUSH broadcast to visit the prestigious University of Illinois at Chicago campus.
Their official departure for THE HBCU tour from the PUSH headquarters was held on Sunday, April 9, 2017, at 10 a.m. with an overnight stay in Somerset, PA. Officials from several HBCU’s will have information about their institutions for the student’s edification along with several African American fraternities, local sororities and some of the corporate sponsors promoting their perspective schools.
“The purpose for the HBCU tour is to expose urban, suburban and rural high school students to the benefits of attending an HBCU,” said Rev. Janette Wilson, national executive director for PUSH for Excellence. “The tour exposes students to African American history through the cultural stops we make that are included as part of the tour.”
To get a taste of both HBCU’s and Black cultural sites, Rev. Wilson said the students would visit the historical African American museum at the Smithsonian and the Muhammad Ali Museum in Kentucky.
“We want the students to understand the journey from education to career which is why we include in each of our college tours stops with some of regional offices of our corporate sponsors like the ComEd facility in Baltimore, MD.
“Their students will see African Americans and others present career options as they think about major areas of study as they focus on the road from college entrance to internships and ultimately graduation,” said Rev. Wilson.
On Monday, April 10, the students visited two HBCU’s in Baltimore, MD, Morgan State University and Coppin. They also made their first corporate stop visiting with a ComEd Business/Career panel also in Baltimore. The students stayed overnight in College Park, MD.
On Tuesday, April 11, the students visited the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. as part of the cultural experience PUSH offers on the tour. The students’ next stop was Howard University in Washington, D.C. and Bowie State University in Bowie, MD staying overnight in Salisbury, MD.
On Wednesday, April 12, they toured the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, MD and Norfolk State University in Norfolk, VA. The students also visited the Sixth Mt. Zion Baptist Temple in Hampton, VA staying overnight in Newport News, VA.
At the time the Chicago Crusader went to press the students were scheduled to tour Hampton University in Hampton, VA and the Virginia Union University in Richmond, VA on Thursday and stay overnight in Charleston, WV.
The second cultural stop for the students was planned on Friday, April 14 when they were to visit the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky.
The 19th annual HCU is scheduled to end on Saturday, April 15 when the students return to the Rainbow PUSH Coalition headquarters. “African American students need to see themselves in institutions of higher learning as presidents, deans and professors.
“They need to see campuses that were built by slaves,” said Rev. Wilson who along with chaperons will accompany the students. “Many of these institutions grew out of Reconstruction; so there is a rich history at every HBCU. They get to learn about African Americans like them who come from circumstances similar to those who have excelled in outstanding ways. The tour is a real encouragement especially for African American males. For many, it will be the first time they will see a president of a college who looks like them and who is welcoming them to apply and matriculate from those HBCU’s.”
At HBCU’s, Rev. Wilson said, “You don’t have to prove that you are capable. You have to prove that you are not. You go to white institutions as an African American you are constantly proving that you are smart, proving that you have the ability. The HBCU’s expect you to graduate and succeed unlike other institutions of higher learning.”
Parents were able to go to the App Store and download the free Rainbow Conference App which enabled them to follow their child’s HBCU tour.