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Historically Black Colleges, Universities and High Schools with a Catholic Perspective

Dr. Ellie Ingbritsen
What is an HBCU?
The letters “HBCU” are an acronym for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. These schools were founded in the 1800s. The schools gave access to higher education to those who were denied acceptance to many colleges and universities prior to the Civil Rights Movement. The formal designation of an HBCU was given by the US Department of Education.  oday HBCUs serve students of all races. 

There are 107 HBCUs in the United States. The oldest HBCU is Cheyney University in Pennsylvania founded in 1852.  The only Black Catholic HBCU in the United States is Xavier University of New Orleans.
Historically Black Catholic High Schools in the United States
St. Frances Academy in Baltimore Maryland is the first and oldest continually operating Black Catholic educational facility in the United States. The school opened in 1828. It was founded by Mother Elizabeth Lange, foundress of the Oblate Sisters of Providence. The religious order is the first and oldest order of Black religion in the world. 

St. Mary's Academy is a Roman Catholic parochial K-12 in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is located in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans. Founded in 1867, by the Sisters of the Holy Family, the second Black Catholic religious order in the United States, as a place where Black children could be educated during segregation. 

Holy Rosary Institute in Lafayette, Louisiana was founded in 1913 by Reverend Philip Keller and the Sisters of the Holy Family. The institute was initially built in order to provide vocational and technical education for black girls. It also served as a Normal School to train teachers for rural black schools.

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Notre Dame High School

Located on 100 beautiful acres in Central New Jersey, Notre Dame High School, founded in 1957, is a college preparatory school for grades 9 - 12, preparing young men and women for lives of purpose, built upon a foundation of Catholic faith, with a commitment to academics, co-curricular activities and service to others.