A Government Accountability Office report found HBCUs educated more than 226,000 African American students pursuing college degrees in 2017.
A 2019 study found that two-thirds of low-income students at HBCUs end up in at least the middle class, and the schools do a better job of lifting up those students than primarily white institutions despite fewer resources.
Harris is a graduate of Knoxville College, an HBCU that lost its accreditation and closed down for several years but is now accepting students through an online program and working toward the goal of restoring the campus.
The school of 268 students helped Johnson, and others like her, despite its somewhat shaky financial condition and concerns that COVID-19 could make things worse.
Norwood was rejected three times by Morehouse, but persuaded the school to place him on a probational summer program and then enroll as a student.