A Celebration of the Black College Experience


By Ayesha Rascoe

Read by Ayesha Rascoe

Read by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

Read by Brandon Gilpin

Read by Nichole Perkins

Read by April Ryan

Read by Karen Chilton

Read by Adam Lazarre-White

Formats and Prices




In this joyous collection of essays about historically Black colleges and universities, alumni both famous and up-and-coming write testimonials about the schools and experiences that shaped their lives and made them who they are today.

Edited by the host of NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday, Ayesha Rascoe—with a distinguished and diverse set of contributors including Oprah Winfrey, Stacey Abrams, and Branford Marsalis, HBCU Made illuminates and celebrates the experience of going to a historically Black college or university. This book is for proud alumni, their loved ones, current students, and anyone considering an HBCU.

The first book featuring famous alumni sharing personal accounts of the Black college experience, HBCU Made offers a series of warm, moving, and candid personal essays about the schools that nurtured and educated them. The contributors write about how they chose their HBCU, their first days on campus, the dynamic atmosphere of classes where students were constantly challenged to do their best, the professors who devoted themselves to the students, the marching bands and majorettes and their rigorous training.

For some, the choice to attend an HBCU was an easy one, as they followed in the footsteps of their parents or siblings. For others, it was a carefully considered step away from a predominantly white institution to be educated in a place where they would never have to justify their presence. And for some authors here, it was an HBCU that took them in and cared for them like family, often helping them to overcome a rough patch.

For all, the pride in their choice is abundantly clear. HBCU Made is a perfect gift for each generation of prospective students and brand new alumni to come.



  • “Ayesha Rascoe is a tour de force, bringing the readers' hearts and mind into the experience of attending an HBCU. This collection of essays is a moving testament to the power of HBCUs and how they shaped remarkable lives and helped foster great talent. I felt transported to these campuses experiencing these raw, honest, funny, hopeful, and inspiring stories.” 
    Paula Patton, actress and producer
  • “One of my greatest life regrets is not attending an HBCU. I was accepted to Howard, the Mecca, when I graduated high school in 1989, but due to family concerns was unable to attend. This glorious book by Ayesha Rascoe reinforces everything I dreamed the experience would be. If only I had a Time Machine!  #ShouldHaveBeenABison”

    Yvette Nicole Brown, actress
  • “If you know firsthand the joy, the pride, and the promises fulfilled on an HBCU campus, you will smile in recognition.  If you don’t, this collection of essays is a wonderful introduction to that HBCU magic!”

    Beverly Daniel Tatum, President Emerita, Spelman College and author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
  • "Warm testimony about critically important experiences."
    Kirkus Reviews
  • "A nostalgic, jubilant ode to HBCUs, their breathtaking histories and devoted alumni. HBCU MADE gives clarity and scope to the impact these historical institutions have made in the lives of some of our nation’s brightest and most dignified talents." 
    Wayetu Moore, author of The Dragons, the Giants, the Women
  • "NPR host Rascoe’s powerful collection of essays… presents a resounding rebuttal to doubters, revealing the unique joys, challenges, frustrations, and rewards of the HBCU experience… Essential reading for our cultural moment. YAs thinking about college will find these perspectives on HBCUs illuminating."

On Sale
Jan 30, 2024
Hachette Audio

Ayesha Rascoe

About the Author

Ayesha Rascoe is the host of Weekend Edition Sunday and the Saturday episodes of Up First.

Prior to her role as host, Rascoe was a White House Correspondent. She covered three presidential administrations. As a part of the White House team, she was also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast.

Before joining NPR, Rascoe spent the first decade of her career at Reuters, rising from a news assistant to an energy reporter to eventually covering the White House. While at Reuters, Rascoe covered some of the biggest energy and environmental stories of the past decade, including the 2010 BP oil spill.

She’s a proud graduate of Howard University.

Learn more about this author

Meet the Contributors

  • Ayesha Rascoe (editor), host of NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday
    • Alma mater: Howard University
    • Essay: Introduction: “Finding My Voice at the Mecca”

  • Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, bestselling author
    • Alma mater: Talladega College
    • Essay: “The Black Woman Artist and her Black-Owned Songs”

  • Roy Wood Jr., correspondent on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show
    • Alma mater: Florida A&M University
    • Essay: “Kid in a Wrinkled Ass Suit”

  • Stacey Abrams, bestselling author, entrepreneur, and political leader
    • Alma mater: Spelman College
    • Essay: “The Renewing Power of HBCUs”

  • Lauren F. Ellis, Senior Visual Effects Producer at Industrial Light & Magic (Aquaman, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever)
    • Alma mater: Hampton University
    • Essay: “I Love My HIU”

  • Shawn Zachery, Director of Prairie View A&M majorette team, Black Foxes
    • Alma mater: Southern University
    • Essay: “A Southern Girl in a Complicated World”
  • Tendayi Kuumba, dancer, choreographer, singer, and songwriter
    • Alma mater: Spelman College
    • Essay: “The Sisterhood that Changed My World”

  • Branford Marsalis, Grammy-award winning Jazz Master, saxophonist, composer, bandleader, and educator
    • Alma mater: Southern University
    • Essay: “It’s About the Culture”

  • Michael Arceneaux, New York Times bestselling author
    • Alma mater: Howard University
    • Essay: “Howard Is Where I Belonged, But It Wasn’t Easy”

  • Rebecca K. Roussell, Senior Vice President of DEI communications at Current Global
    • Alma mater: Dillard University
    • Essay: “Perseverance Every Step of the Way”

  • Marquis Brown, Managing Partner and Head of Strategy at Bravo Growth
    • Alma mater: Hampton University
    • Essay: “The Feeling of Finding Home”

  • Nichole Perkins, author
    • Alma mater: Dillard University
    • Essay: “HBCUs Taught Me”
  • April Ryan, White House Correspondent and author
    • Alma mater: Morgan State University
    • Essay: “Loving You to Success”

  • Melonie Parker, Chief Diversity Officer, Google
    • Alma mater: Hampton University
    • Essay: “Let Your Life Do the Singing”

  • Brandon Gilpin, actor; our youngest contributor, graduated in 2022
    • Alma mater: Morehouse College
    • Essay: “Dear Old Morehouse”

  • Leoneda Inge, Race and Southern Culture Reporter for NPR affiliate WUNC
    • Alma Mater: Florida A&M University
    • Essay: “Everybody is Cheering for You”

  • Oprah Winfrey, global media leader and philanthropist
    • Alma mater: Tennessee State University
    • Essay: “Anything Is Possible”

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, January 30: Brooklyn, NY
Brooklyn Public Library with Greenlight Bookstore
Ayesha Rascoe in conversation with Astead Herndon
Details & tickets here

Wednesday, January 31: Baltimore, MD
Enoch Pratt Free Library with Urban Reads Bookstore
Ayesha Rascoe in conversation with Juana Summers
Details & tickets here

Thursday, February 1: Virtual
Family Action Network with The Book Stall Bookstore

Ayesha Rascoe in conversation with Natalie Y. Moore
Details & tickets here

Monday, February 5: Washington, DC
MLK Library with Loyalty Bookstore

Ayesha Rascoe in conversation with Nikole Hannah-Jones
Details & tickets here

Wednesday, February 7: Decatur, GA
First Baptist Church with Brave & Kind Books
Ayesha Rascoe in conversation with Dr. Beverly Tatum
Details & tickets here

Thursday, February 8: St. Louis, MO
St. Louis County Library with EyeSeeMe Bookstore
Ayesha Rascoe in conversation with Marissanne Lewis-Thompson
Details & tickets here

Monday, February 12: Winston-Salem, NC
Winston-Salem State University with Bookmarks
Ayesha Rascoe in conversation with Dr Santiba D. Campbell
Details & tickets here

Tuesday, February 13: Chapel Hill, NC
WUNC with Epilogue Books at The Varsity Theater
Ayesha Rascoe in conversation with Leoneda Inge
Details & tickets to come