BALTIMORE (N.Y. Jewish Week) – On a recent Friday afternoon, an employee of a university here, passing through the Student Center building, noticed a student he knew sitting in a lounge and called out, “Shalom Abe.”
The school is Morgan State University, a historically black institution in the northeast corner of the city; the employee is Donald Hill-Eley, a devout Christian and Morgan State’s head football coach for a decade; the student is Abraham Mercado, a place kicker on the MSU football team.
A native of Mexico City who moved with his family to Florida when he was 9, Mercado, a junior, is one of a few hundred white students among 7,700 graduate and undergraduate students. And he is possibly the only Jewish student; no one keeps track of the students’ religious affiliations.
As a lone Jew at school populated mostly by Christians and some Muslims, Mercado is part of a small group that is a phenomenon, albeit a little-noticed one – Jews studying at historically black colleges and universities, known as HBCUs among African-Americans. The schools were formed in the United States, mostly after the Civil War, to educate the freed slaves, who were barred from most universities due to racial restrictions.
Read more at www.thejewishweek.com”