A Need for Cultural Experiences for Black Students with Intellectual Disabilities at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Gerlinde G. Beckers, Paula S. Calderon


This position paper examines the intersectionality of race and disability and the impact on inclusive postsecondary educational (PSE) opportunities at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Based on a history of segregation and oppression those who are Black and those who have an intellectual disability (ID) share many of the same experiences. HBCUs continue to play a substantial role in the Black communities and higher education by providing educational opportunities, but also a cultural experience. Black students with ID have limited opportunities for an inclusive PSE experience at an HBCU therefore, forego this cultural experience. A closer is look is taken at the lack of inclusive PSE programs for Black students with ID. It is said that society is measured by how it treats those on the margin, living in the shadows. Can society commit to fundamental changes that will make inclusive PSE programs at HBCUs more of a reality for Black students with ID or continue to support attitudes and practices that deny opportunities to those who are already marginalized in today’s society?


HBCUs, intellectual disabilities, intersectionality, postsecondary education

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