Expanding your knowledge in the African American Experience



New book highlights all aspects of HBCU life via more than 60 first-hand essays penned by graduates of Black colleges and universities

HBCU Experience - book coverWashington, DC (BlackNews.com) — In an effort to highlight the history, relevance and impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Black college alumni Tia C. M. Tyree, Ph.D., and Christopher D. Cathcart have teamed to edit HBCU Experience – The Book, a collection of essays showcasing all aspects of Black college life. The groundbreaking anthology chronicles undergraduate realities, such as dating and relationships, dorm living, road trips, pledging fraternities and sororities, student activism and leadership, athletics and much more. Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, a graduate of Howard University and long-time advocate of HBCUs, wrote the book’s foreword, and the introduction was written by journalist and mobile media professor Allissa Richardson, a 2002 graduate of Xavier University and 2013 Apple, Inc. Distinguished Educator.

Published at a time when some still question the need for Black colleges and universities in today’s educational environment, one of HBCU Experience – The Book’s core goals is to help underscore the unique and still vital role of these historic institutions. In addition, many colleges and universities have application deadlines in December 2014 and January 2015 for the start of the next academic year. As high school seniors and their families make the important decisions as to which institutions to apply, HBCU Experience – The Book is being released at a time when many might find it beneficial to consider the experiences of HBCU alum in their decision-making process.

“More than a hundred and fifty years after the establishment of the first HBCU, it is as necessary then as it is now to have historically black colleges and universities as a part of our higher education options,” say Tyree. “While it would be easy for us to show statistics, this book gives you a glimpse of what the impact of HBCUs are from the very individuals who walked through the their halls. There is no better way to understand the HBCU experience than from those who actually lived it.”

Adds Cathcart: “This has truly been a labor of love. The opportunity to connect with so many loyal, proud HBCU grads from different eras and schools was rewarding in many ways, and not just relative to the book itself. It underscored our belief that there’s a passionate, engaged support-base out there for our Black colleges; there are many people who feel like we do and want to work to preserve our institutions.”

The book, the first collaboration between Tyree and Cathcart, features essays from graduates of such HBCUs as Florida A&M University, Texas Southern University, Hampton University, Spelman College, Jackson State University, Cheney University of Pennsylvania, North Carolina A&T State University and many more. Hailing from various eras, backgrounds and outlooks, the contributing writers share intimate stories that run the gamut of emotions and experiences. HBCU Experience – The Book presents the stories in four distinct themes: campus life, love and relationships, mentoring and guidance, and student activism. The essays range in tone from the light and humorous to the serious and insightful, with the common thread being they all reflect an authentic and personal story that helped shape each writer’s HBCU journey.

Whether it is Chrystal deGregory’s story about being a young girl in the Bahamas who was transformed by watching a United Negro College Fund commercial and the personal invitation to attend college by a recruiter; Ellen Chaney Bostic’s desire to finish Virginia State University, the very same school her grandmother couldn’t finish 50 years prior; the sidesplittingly funny story of Gladstone “Tony” Alleyne’s attempt to trade a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for his own transistor radio or those of young people finding themselves – racially, sexually or professionally, they all speak to unique HBCU experiences.

HBCU Experience – The Book is available now at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com, or through local bookstore order desks; additional information about the book and the editors is available at www.BlackCollegeBook.com. Tyree and Cathcart will announce plans for a book-signing tour soon and are available for personal appearances to discuss the book and other issues related to HBCUs.

For more information about HBCU Experience – The Book, including media inquires, book-signings and/or speaking requests, please visit www.BlackCollegeBook.com.

Dr. Tia C. M. Tyree is the Assistant Chair and Associate Professor at Howard University within the Department of Strategic, Legal and Management Communications. She teaches several graduate and undergraduate courses. Her research interests include African-American and female representations in the mass media, hip hop, rap, reality television, film and social media. She has published articles in several journals, including Women and Language, Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism, Howard Journal of Communications, and Journal of Black Studies. She is also co-editor of Social Media: Pedagogy and Practice and author of The Interesting and Incredibly Long History of American Public Relations. Prior to joining the academy, she worked for more than 12 years as a public relations professional for government, entertainment and for-profit entities. Dr. Tyree earned a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland; Masters of Arts in Publications Design from the University of Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland and Ph.D. in Mass Communications and Media Studies from Howard University.

Christopher Darren Cathcart is a published author; public relations, marketing/brand development expert and an acclaimed public speaker. In 1995, Cathcart founded OneDiaspora Group, a Los Angeles and Washington, DC-based PR/communications consulting firm. He has more than 27 years of public relations experience, having been an executive at such companies as CNN, Motown Records and Warner Bros. Television, among others.

His first book, The Lost Art of Giving Back, a how-to guide to volunteerism, was published in 2007. Cathcart also founded Ledge magazine, the nation’s first and only HIV/AIDS online publication by and for Black college students. He is a graduate of Howard University (Bachelor of Arts/Communications).

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