One of the biggest myths about HBCUs is that they aren’t diverse. Aside from the fact that HBCUs showcase the entire black diaspora- there are black students from all walks of life and many different places on each campus- the reality is HBCUs tend to be as diverse, if not more so, than many of their historically white counterparts. Several HBCU’s including West Virginia State University and Gadsden State Community College are predominantly white & St. Phillip's College is Texas is majority Latino. Also, while HBCUs were founded to educate former slaves and their descendants, HBCUs have always welcomed other students. The first students enrolled at Howard University were white women. Hampton University, for many years, enrolled a large population of Native Americans. During the 1970s Jackson State enrolled a group of students from Thailand. There are numerous success stories to be found among the non-black students who attended HBCUs. This week’s HBCU Legends will highlight a few.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Winonah became a Freedom Rider while a college student at Central State. She was arrested in Jackson, Mississippi and spent almost six months in the state’s maximum security prison, known as Parchman Farm. Of all the Freedom Riders, Beamer served the longest sentence and was the only rider who served her full term. She and her husband, David Myers, also a white student at Central State, both spent time in prison due to their activism.
Chaudhuri is an Indian-American attorney and politician in the state of North Carolina. He is a member of the North Carolina General Assembly. He was appointed to the North Carolina State Senate, representing District 16 in April 2016, replacing Josh Stein who resigned to run for Attorney General. His district covers parts of Raleigh, Cary and Morrisville. In November 2016 Chaudhuri won the general election and was reelected to the Senate for a term beginning in 2017.
Canadian golf guru, Sean Foley has made a name for himself on the PGA tour, but not as a golfer. After serving as a member of Tennessee State’s Varsity Golf team, under legendary coach Catana Starks, Foley began a career as a golf instructor. Sean Foley has coached Tiger Woods, Hunter Mahan, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood and other PGA Tour Professionals. He is also a contributor to Golf Digest magazine.
Wayne T Gilchrist served as a Repulbican member of the US House of Representative. He represented Maryland’s 1st Congressional district. A decorated Vietnam veteran, Gilchrist was wounded and awarded a Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Navy Commendation Medal. He served in Congress from 1991- 2009. A moderate Republican, Gilchrist spoke in favor of same-sex marriage and was the lone Republican vote in support of a 1993 bill that would have created DC Statehood.
Hoessle served as Director of the Saint Louis Zoo from 1982 until 2002. He was named Director Emeritus upon his retirement. Hoessle attended St. Louis Public Schools and earned an Associate’s degree from what was then known as Harris Stowe Teacher’s College. He joined the zoo as a reptile keeper in 1963 and after a series of increasing responsibilities was ultimately named Director nearly 20 years later. Hoessle also hosted a weekly television show, “The Saint Louis Zoo Show.” In 1987 he received the Distinguished Alumnus award from Harris Stowe
Leutkemeyer is a Republican member of Congress, representing Missouri's 3rd congressional district in the US House of Representatives since 2009. Prior to becoming a Congressman, Leutkemeyer represented the 115th Legislative District in the Missouri House of Representatives, serving from from 1999 until 2005. Leutkemeyer also served as Missouri Toursim Director.
William I. May is the mayor of Frankfort, Kentucky. Prior to taking office in 1996, he served as city commissioner. He became mayor in 1996 and held the office until 2009, the first mayor to succeed himself since the 1800’s. Due to term limits, he was unable to run for a fourth term. Instead, he again served as city commissioner from 2009-2013 and was then reelected for a fourth term as mayor. May has received the NAACP President's Award and the Kentucky Sheriffs' Association President's Award
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Christa McAuliffe was a 15-year teaching veteran, selected by NASA to be the first candidate for the NASA Teacher in Space Project. She was a payload specialist on STS 51-L about the space shuttle Challenger. The Challenger was launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on January 28, 1986. The STS 51-L crew died on January 28, 1986 when Challenger exploded after launch. McAuliffe was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
Author Andy Nunez graduated from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Since then, he has had numerous articles, stories and books published. His first was the Treasures of the Eastern Shore in 2005, which was followed by Mysteries of the Eastern Shore, The Crimson Need, Ghosts of the Eastern Shore, Spotsylvania (a pictorial history of Wicomico County, Maryland) & Pirates of the Eastern Shore. He is editor of the award-winning military simulation magazine Against the Odds.
Trumpauer began her college career at segregated Duke University. During this time she began to participate in sit-ins. She subsequently dropped out of Duke and became a Freedom Rider, was arrested and sent to death row at Parchman Penitentiary in Mississippi. She became one of the first white students to enroll in Tougaloo where she became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She continued her activism, participating in the March on Washington and the Selma to Montgomery march. She later became a teacher and after retirement founded the Joan Trumpauer Mulholland Foundation, dedicated to educating youth to become activists in their own communities.
Wofford is an attorney and politician. He represented Pennsylvania in the United States Senate from 1991 to 1995, filling the seat of H. John Heinz III, who died in a plane crash. Wofford has a long career in politics. He was appointed Special Assistant to the President for Civil Rights by President Kennedy. Wofford helped form the Peace Corps and was its special representative to Africa. Wofford also served as Pennsylvania Secretary of Labor and Industry after serving briefly as chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. Additionally, Wofford was the president of Bryn Mawr College from 1970 to 1978.
Huda Y. Zoghbi is a Lebanese-born physician and medical researcher. She is the director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children's Hospital and is a professor in the departments of Pediatrics, Molecular and Human Genetics, and Neurology and Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine, is the director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children's Hospital, Zoghbi has built a career researching neurological disorders, specifically Rett syndrome and spinocerebellar ataxias; research which could help find cures for Alzheimer's and autism. Recently her work was recognized with a $3million Breathrough Prize, the richest award in science.
Photo credits: Beamer: public domain, Chaudhuri: Campaign website, Foley: NexGen Indoor Golf Center, Saint Louis Zoo archives, Lexington Herald-Leader,Nunez: Sam Harvey/Coastal Point, Getty Images, Library of Congress, Maria de Jesus/Houston Chronicle, McCauliffe: NASA, Washington Examiner, public domain, Zoghbi: Houston Chronicle