In the United States, a historically black college is a college or university that was established before 1964 with the intention of serving the African-American community. Before 1964, African-Americans were almost always excluded from higher education opportunities at the predominantly white colleges and universities--with notable exceptions like integrated Oberlin College in Ohio.
There are more than 100 historically black colleges in the United States, located exclusively in the southern and eastern states. Historically black colleges are not necessarily predominantly black today. One classic example can be found in West Virginia, whose population is nearly 95 percent white--higher than any other state outside of the three northern New England states. By 1964, the tenth anniversary of the Supreme Court's landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, West Virginia State College had become primarily a commuter college with a student body well over 80 percent white, which it remains to this day. However, throughout this time, WVSC's administration has been primarily African-American.
Famous graduates of historically black colleges include Andrew Young Jr, Toni Morrison, Oprah Winfrey, Martin Luther King Jr, Medgar Evers, Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, Ralph Ellison, W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington.