According to Essence, Dillard University has become one of the United States top producers of black physicists in the nation. The New Orleans-based historically black university has ranked as the second highest generator of black physicists, despite the small size of just over 1,200 students.
This success is not only about the relative size of the college — although that in and of itself would be an impressive feat. The comparatively small budget that Dillard and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities have to work with also adds to this success.
But Dillard is not the only historically black school that has seen an increase of black student scientists. According to the American Institute of Physics, a majority of black undergraduates graduating with a degree in physics come from historically black colleges and universities.
“Degrees in physics are rare for women and minorities and that Dillard — with a campus that is 73 percent female — is outpacing its larger counterparts is significant,” University of Pennsylvania professor Marybeth Gasman told The Associated Press.
Many of the people graduating college this commencement season won’t remember why historically black colleges and universities were necessary. After all, most of them were born well after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed by the 88th Congress, banning discrimination in public places and schools.
But while things have come a long way since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s day, black people now, as they did then, are struggling to find their bearing in what is unfortunately still the very white world of academia and science.
Martin Luther King Jr. was himself a student of a historically black college, Morehouse College. It was during his time at Morehouse that he discovered his passion for service and was called to the church.
Listening to the Martin Luther King Jr speech audio of his I Have a Dream Speech, you can hear that the dream of true brotherhood and equality have yet to be realized. But schools Like Dillard are doing their best to make up for it in the meantime.
If you would like more information on Dr. King Jr., his time at Morehouse, and his work as a civil rights leader, listen to our MLK audio documentary. Our MLK audio documentary is a three-hour journey through the most pivotal Moments in Martin Luther King Jrs. life.