Ep. 27 “Black Ivy League” with Howard University Alumna, Aisha Bowen

On this episode of “The HBCU Podcast,” we discuss the mythical “Black Ivy League” with Howard University Alumna, Aisha Bowen and Morehouse College & Prairie View A&M University Alumnus, David Hughes. The Black Ivy League is a colloquial term that once referred to a set of HBCUs in the United States that attracted the majority of high-performing and affluent African American students prior to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Our conversation explores why this term is problematic and why it shouldn’t be used in the HBCU community.

Read Aisha & David’s article Dispelling the Myth of the Black Ivy League: A Conversation on the MSI Unplugged blog. 


Aisha Bowen is native of Richmond, Indiana, and holds a B.A. in English from Howard University in Washington, D.C. In addition to English, she also studied Urban Secondary Education, where she obtained her D.C. teacher certification in 7th-12th grade as an English Language Arts Teacher. While at Howard University, she served in multiple leadership capacities including board member of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program (2012 scholar) and Programs Chair of Kappa Delta Pi International Honors Society in Education.

While Aisha has long been encouraged to pursue a career in urban education, her international teaching experiences have taught her that the two fields are indelibly interlinked. Thus, her research interests include how culturally relevant curricula, pedagogy, and teacher training improve student achievement and affect school climate in secondary school settings. She is also very passionate about creating opportunities for African American students from marginalized communities to study abroad and receive training on becoming global leaders.

Aisha is currently a second-year Master’s Student in the Penn Graduate School of Education studying International Education Development. She also currently serves as a Research Assistant for the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions and a part-time teacher at Blankenburg Elementary School in Philadelphia, PA.


David C. Hughes is a Pre-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the only HBCU graduate to receive this fellowship in the University of Pennsylvania’s history. One year and nine months after graduating from Morehouse College, Hughes began teaching at the collegiate level at Prairie View A&M University. He previously served as a Resident Director and Lecturer at Morgan State University and is a doctoral student in Educational Leadership at Prairie View A&M University.

Hughes recently became a children’s book author, Benny Becomes An Architect; his first book was released January 2, 2018. Prior to his work in higher education, Hughes worked in the sports industry. He’s worked for the Houston Texans, the University of Texas, and interned at ESPN and the University of Miami during his undergraduate studies.

Hughes has been recognized by HBCU BUZZ as a “Top 30 Under 30” HBCU alumnus, has been nominated for faculty of the year, selected as an Emerging Scholar by AERA, and has received certificates from the University of Pennsylvania for Race and Equity in Education and from Hampton University for Executive Leadership training.

Additionally, Hughes sits on the board of directors for the Drake Group and Summer Search Philadelphia. He is the Founder and CEO of View House Strategy Firm, an educational consulting firm. Hughes is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., 100 Black Men, and serves as the Secretary of the Houston Morehouse College Alumni Association.

For more information about David, follow him on social at @DavidCHughes2 and get a copy of Benny Becomes An Architect.