Top Five HBCU Law Schools in the U.S | Legal Education Overcoming Barriers to Legal Training
Though there are multiple law schools throughout the U.S., only Five can claim historically Black roots. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) law schools were created within the last five decades to provide African Americans with a nurturing legal learning environment to thrive.
Over time, schools have earned an impeccable reputation for academic quality and social justice activism, shaping students into advocates who will advocate on behalf of civil rights and change within their respective communities. We will explore each law school within HBCUs to see attendance benefits.
Five HBCU Law Schools Over time, historically black college and university (HBCU) law schools have played an invaluable role in providing more opportunities for education within low-representation communities, particularly within regions like the South or Southwest regions of America.
Most HBCU schools can be found scattered between these regions, with each boasting its own unique story to share.
Here is the complete list of five HBCU law schools located across this great nation of ours!
- Florida A&M University College of Law
- 2Howard University School of Law
- North Carolina Central University School of Law
- Southern University Law
- Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University
1. Florida A&M University College of Law
FAMU’s College of Law dates back to 1949 when its inaugural class of students entered within hours after it opened for business in 1951.
But 15 years later, the Florida Board of Control (now Board of Regents) put a stopper on the admission of law students; two years after this, the last graduating class graduated and closed down before legislation allowed its reopening under Florida Legislature approval in 2000.
FAMU’s College of Law strives to give its students an exceptional learning experience and prepare them to assist underserved and marginalized communities. According to 2022 data, classes typically consist of 130 students.
2. Howard University School of Law
Howard University, School of Law, was first established in Washington D.C in 1867, with enrollment rising rapidly during its inaugural year from 6 students to 28 – initially only offering two-year degree courses; three-year courses were introduced as of 1900.
Howard University School of Law has been instrumental in shaping some of America’s top legal professionals since its creation. Charlotte E. Ray became one of the first Black American female attorneys admitted before the D.C.
Supreme Court is among Howard’s alums, alongside Thurgood Marshall, who served as the first Black American U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
3. North Carolina Central University School of Law
In 1939, the North Carolina General Assembly created the North Carolina Central University (NCCU) School of Law to give Black people in North Carolina access to state-wide legal training opportunities through law school education.
NCCU School of Law’s goal is to equip lawyers to lead in and serve their communities effectively. There are approximately 160 students per class attending NCCU’s law school from all regions throughout the Southeast U.S.
4. Southern University Law
Center of Baton Rouge, LA, was established in 1947 following a lawsuit brought on by an African American looking for admission into state-run institutions of legal study. As a response, the Louisiana State Board of Education took swift action by creating an African law school at Southern University that later came under its authority.
The Law Center boasts one of the largest student bodies in America, with more than 2500 graduates attending.
Law Center boasts some notable alumni. Notable graduates include Jesse N. Stone Jr, who became known for his civil rights work. Furthermore, its 1950 Law School class graduated equality legal professionals for equal rights, such as Fredrick Dyson and Alex Louis Pitcher – two prominent alumni.
5. Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University
Established in 1946 as part of an unrelated lawsuit – Heman Marion Sweatt had applied to the University of Texas but was denied admission because of race discrimination, filing suit against NAACP before successfully lobbying the Texas legislature to pass legislation creating what eventually became known as The Thurgood Marshall School of Law.
Thurgood Marshall Law School strives to equip its students to lead in business, law, and politics as the world changes. At present, there are approximately 180 students enrolled.
Benefits of Enrolling at an HBCU Law School
Students enrolled at HBCU law schools enjoy various advantages over attending law faculties outside HBCUs, one being that tuition costs tend to be cheaper when attending such institutions compared with non-HBCU law faculties, making top-quality legal education more accessible and within reach for marginalized and underserved communities.
HBCU law schools are well known for being inclusive environments. Students studying in such law schools can better learn of the struggles minority communities are up against and become empowered activists for justice.