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Local author shares the importance of HBCUs through a children's book

'the kids are the ones that are going to keep HBCUs open'
HBCU detroit
Posted at 1:21 PM, Feb 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 07:14:43-05

(WXYZ) — As we celebrate Black History Month, we celebrate excellence in education and the importance of historically black colleges and universities.

Graduate of Central State Latoya Turner didn't learn about HBCUs until high school. So when the conversation about what they are and their impact, she authored a children's book to boost literacy and awareness.

“Honestly, how I ended up at Central State is because honestly, I remember in high school me googling closest HBCUs to Detroit,” said Turner.

Turner doesn't want her first-graders in Cincinnatti to wait until high school to start thinking about college and HBCUs.

She wrote "Brown Hands, Black Schools: HBCUs" with a nod to her hometown.

The story follows two characters from Detroit who share a recent adventure with their class trip to an HBCU campus.

Turner had a special book launch last year in Detroit. She has sold around 1,000 copies and hopes to get her book into more classrooms.

Historically black colleges and universities were primarily founded before the civil rights act to offer higher education opportunities to black students here; they didn't exist in segregated white colleges.

Michigan's first and only HBCU closed in 2013 and is reopening this spring under a new name, The Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design.

“There’s no website that you can go to right now and research Black designers," said President of Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design, Dr. D'Wayne Edwards.

With Pensole Lewis' re-opening, Tuner hopes local grade school students can visit to learn about it.

“The youth, the kids are the ones that are going to keep HBCUs open,” said Turner.