Increasingly, white students are enrolling at the nation’s 120 historically black colleges and universities, changing the landscape of institutions that were created when African Americans were barred from attending most colleges.
In the past quarter-century, the number of white students at these campuses has risen 65 percent, from 21,000 to nearly 35,000—an increase driven partly by court orders aimed at desegregation and partly by interest in programs these schools offer.
Alcorn State University, about 90 miles southwest of Jackson, has not found enough eligible white students from Mississippi interested in attending, so officials began recruiting overseas.
Eugenia Merculova Lubrano, 24, of Veronezh, Russia, a 2001 graduate who works as a recruiter for multicultural students at Alcorn, said she heard about the college from the mother of a friend. The word spread, she said, and now 40 people from her town have attended the historically black college.
Lubrano said she never could have gone to a U.S. university without the full scholarship Alcorn State offered.
Bishop—a tall, sandy-haired native of Shreveport, La.—whittled his college choices to Howard and the University of Michigan because he had relatives near both campuses. . .
“I was in the administration building and I had had a problem with something . . . and this lady who worked there said to me: ‘Why are you here? This is for black people.’
“If she had been at a majority-white school and I had been black, she would have been fired.”