Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Tennessee

After the end of the Civil War in 1865, African Americans began to seek opportunities in education. Excluded from previously established schools, they founded institutes now known as “Historically Black Colleges and Universities” to provide education opportunities in higher learning.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
Analyze the effects of Reconstruction on the legal, political, social, cultural, educational, and economic life of freedmen.
Assess the successes and failures of Reconstruction as they relate to African Americans.
Describe the development of African American institutions such as religion, education, and benevolent organizations.
Conduct and write short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem by...
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Learning objectives: 
  • Students will analyze primary source photographs from the late 1800s and early 1900s.
  • Students will synthesize multiple online sources to answer research questions. 
Essential and guiding questions: 

Why was there a need for African American colleges and universities? 

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 
  • Students can explore the Trials and Triumphs: Tennesseans Search for Citizenship, Community, and Opportunitywebsite to learn more about Tennessee’s history between the end of the American Civil War and the end of World War II.
  • Students can read more about the history of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States.
  • Learn about the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Students can explore the online Library of Congress exhibition NAACP: A Century in the Fight for Freedom to learn more about the organization and its impact.

Helpful Hints


  • Computer lab access
  • Fisk University Worksheet
  • Knoxville College Worksheet
  • LeMoyne-Owen College Worksheet
  • “The Nashville Globe” Worksheet