When the Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design re-opens this year, it will be the Motor City’s only HBCU. It’ll be the only HBCU in Michigan.

Wait a minute; are we getting a new HBCU?

Not exactly.  Let me back up.

The former Lewis College of Business, founded by Violet T. Lewis in Indianapolis in 1928.  The school relocated to Detroit in 1939.  Until it closed in 2013, it provided clerical training and other business related courses; providing economical and educational opportunities to the state.

Traditionally, a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) receives it’s designation as an institution of higher education established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  So, Lewis College fit the description by providing secretarial training to Black women. In fact, General Motors and Michigan Bell hired their first Black office employees from the school.  It received its official HBCU designation in 1987.

D’Wayne Edwards, founder of the Portland based Pensole Design Academy, moved forward with plans to re-open Lewis College, forming the Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design. PLC will retain its original identity as a business college, and add to the curriculum a focus on design. Last week, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed two bills into law that granted the petition. PLC is slated for its official opening March 2022.

The plan is for the school be a mostly tuition free institution. Funding will come from corporate partnerships with Nike, New Balance, Target and others.  In addition, students can begin taking accredited classes through its collaborations with Detroit’s College of Creative Studies.

Welcome back to the HBCU family PLC. We’ll be watching and rooting for you!

About Author

Beverly Williams

Beverly is an Alabama State University Alumna, a feminist, and hella Black. When she is not doing it for the culture, she is also a wife, a mom, a freelance writer, and entrepreneur.

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