According to Section 322(2) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, a historically black college or university (HBCU)is defined as:
...any Historically Black college or university that wasestablished prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of Black Americans, and that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary to be a reliable authority as to the quality of training offered or is, according to such an agency or association, making reasonable progress toward accreditation.
Many of these institutions of higher education were founded after the Civil War, and they are a mixture of both public and private universities primarily located in the South. Today, in the United States and Virgin Islands, there are 101 historically Black colleges or universities. As a whole, nine percent of Black college students in the United States attended an HBCU in 2015. In the Gulf South states,there are fifteen HBCUs in Alabama, four HBCUs in Florida, six HBCUs in Louisiana, six HBCUs in Mississippi, and nine HBCUs in Texas. To its own detriment, American society as a whole has yet to recognize that these universities have played a critical role in every aspect of American society.