(The Root) — When Bluefield State College opened in the late 19th century, it was created to educate the children of black coal miners in segregated West Virginia. But political change, economic upheavals and changing demographics have resulted in a change in complexion at the HBCU. Today it is 90 percent white, according to NPR.
The paradigm shift began around 1954, soon after Bluefield State earned full accreditation. That’s when the Supreme Court ruled segregation illegal, resulting in a cavalcade of change. Black students had more options and access to a broad array of academic institutions. As a result, black colleges and universities like Bluefield State had to compete against predominantly white schools for funding and top students.
Simultaneously, black families began leaving the area in search of better opportunities up North, and white military veterans began returning home after the Korean War. And with the federal government paying tuition costs through the GI Bill, veterans began to eye inexpensive schools like Bluefield State.
Read more at NPR.