Emancipation and Reconstruction brought the challenge of building a new society, in which education was a key imperative.  Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have played an historical role in enhancing equal educational opportunity.   They have fostered leadership, scholarship and activism and produced many American notables, including Mary McLeod Bethune, Martin Luther King, Jr., Toni Morrison, Thurgood Marshall, and Leontyne Price.  Using nearby HBCUs Howard University and Coppin State University as examples, Dr. Matthews will discuss the history of HBCUs and their importance to American society.