You’ll Never Guess What makes WVSU Unique

You’ll Never Guess What makes WVSU Unique

Are you a proud West Virginia State University alum or fan looking for a stylish way to show off your school spirit? Look no further than HBCU Leggings! We are excited to announce that we are now offering a new, licensed line of West Virginia State University gear, perfect for showing off your school pride in a fashionable and comfortable way. Read more to learn about just what makes this HBCU so unique and how HBCU Leggings celebrates West Virginia State University. 

West Virginia State University's Origins 

Over 130 years have passed since West Virginia State University (WVSU) first opened its doors as a historically black college and university (HBCU). WVSU was founded in 1891 as the West Virginia Colored Institute with the goal of giving African American students in the state access to higher education. It is one of the few HBCUs that once served Black students exclusively, as West Virginia was one of the few states that maintained segregated schools when it was established. At the time, Black students had limited access to higher education, therefore the establishment of WVSU was a big step towards removing obstacles and advancing equality.

“It is one of the few HBCUsthat once served Black students exclusively.”

With only a few pupils and one teacher, the school's inaugural courses were held in a small church in Institute, West Virginia. The emphasis on teacher education and agriculture in the curriculum reflected the idea that education was the key to improving the lot of Black people. Early on, the school faced difficulties like discrimination and a lack of funds, but the committed teachers, staff, and students persisted.

In 1954, the United States Supreme Court gave its historic decision outlawing school segregation. The consequence of this decision for West Virginia State College was a rapid transition to an integrated institution serving a predominantly white, commuting, and older student population.  Enrollment quadrupled during the following decades. 

WVSU in the 20th Century

In the early 20th century, WVSU underwent significant changes. The school's mission expanded to include a broader range of academic programs, and the school's name was changed to West Virginia State College. The school's emphasis on teacher education remained strong, but new programs were added in fields such as nursing, business, and engineering. The school also became a leader in agricultural education, with a focus on research and experimentation.

During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, WVSU played a vital role in the fight for equality. The school's students and faculty were active in the movement, and the school served as a meeting place for Civil Rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. The school's commitment to social justice was reflected in its curriculum, as new courses were added in African American studies and other related fields.

“The school served as a meeting place for Civil Rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.”

In the decades that followed, WVSU continued to evolve. The school's name was changed to West Virginia State University, reflecting its status as a comprehensive university. The school's academic programs continued to expand, with new majors in fields such as computer science, environmental science, and mass communications. Today, WVSU offers over 40 undergraduate and graduate programs, and the school has a diverse student body with a strong representation of black students.

WVSU's history as an HBCU is an important part of the school's identity, and it is a source of pride for the school's students, faculty, staff, and alumni. HBCUs like WVSU have played a vital role in the education of Black Americans, providing access to higher education when it was otherwise denied. Today, HBCUs continue to be important institutions, serving as a safe space for Black students and providing opportunities for Black scholars and professionals.

WVSU and the Space Race

In 2017, 20th Century Studios released Hidden Figures, a movie detailing the true, untold story of the Black Women who helped win the space race. The movie highlights scientists Dorothy Vaugh (played by Octavia Spencer), Mary Jackson (played by Janell Monae) and Katherine Gobel Johnson (played by Howard University alumna, Taraji P. Henson). 

Katherine Johnson's journey to NASA began at West Virginia State University, where she earned her degree in mathematics and French. Her education at WVSU provided her with the foundation and skills needed to excel as a mathematician and to make significant contributions to the field of space exploration.

Johnson's work at NASA is an inspiration to all students at WVSU, and a reminder of the impact that a degree in mathematics can have on the world. Her contributions to the field of space exploration are a testament to the power of hard work, dedication, and a strong education. 

New HBCU Leggings Swag 

HBCU Leggings is proud to welcome the West Virginia State University Yellow Jackets to our online store, featuring new WVSU leggings and cozy WVSU blankets. This collection seamlessly blends school spirit with cultural identity. Our CEO and designer, Amina Hammond, has masterfully incorporated an original Ankara design into the WVSU leggings and blankets,  creating a unique and powerful representation of HBCU pride. These leggings are more than just a fashion statement, they are a reminder of the rich history and heritage of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and the important role these institutions play in shaping and uplifting the African-American community. 

The WVSU leggings and WVSU Blankets feature their mascot, the Yellow Jacket. The yellow jacket has a rich symbolism that is rooted in both nature and culture and is the perfect mascot of WVSU.  In nature, the yellow jacket is a type of wasp that is known for its bright yellow and black striped body. This striking color combination is a warning to predators that the yellow jacket is venomous and shouldn’t be messed with. In the same way, a yellow jacket worn as apparel can be a symbol of strength, power, and confidence.

A yellow jacket can also be a symbol of new beginnings and fresh starts. As the yellow jacket emerges in the spring, it is a symbol of the return of warmth, light, and growth after a long, cold winter. It reminds us of the possibilities that lie ahead and the potential for new adventures and experiences.

Now, you can show off your school spirit with our brand new WVSU apparel. New apparel will be available at starting on February 1st. Remember a portion of every purchase from this collection is given back to West Virginia State University for the preservation and continuation of the legacy of this great HBCU.

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