Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) were created by the Morrill Act. This act was introduced to congress by Justin Smith Morrill, a congressman from Vermont, in 1862. The goal of this act was to establish land grants colleges that would bring higher education to people in each state. However, seventeen states, mostly in the south, excluded blacks from their land grant colleges. A second Morrill Act was passed in 1890 that expanded the system of grants to include black institutions.
Most Historically Black Colleges and Universities were established after the American Civil War. Three that were established prior to the Civil War include Cheyney University of Pennsylvania (1837), Lincoln University in Pennsylvania (1854) and Wilberforce University in Ohio (1856). By 1902, 85 HBCUs had been established. Currently there are 105 Historically Black Colleges and Universities located mainly in the south and on the East Coast.