Alumni and future HBCU graduates can pay homage to the culture of HBCUs without trekking to a college campus bookstore that has traditionally served as a one-stop shop. Fan gear has increased over the years. Add author B.M. Hardin’s new product line of HBCU notebooks to the list.
Hardin stated, “I’m a Black woman and I love all things black. I wanted to create something for current Black college students, alumni and future HBCU students. Representation matters!”
The composition style notebooks are made with college ruled pages. Hardin stated that she launched them just a few weeks ago on Amazon.com.
Since writing is Hardin’s “first love,” and creating pretty items is her second, Hardin “decided to create and sell journals and coloring books in between book releases.”
Books and More By Author B.M. Hardin was founded in 2015. To date, she has penned African
American suspense, thrillers, romance and children’s books, in addition to creating journals and coloring
books for sale. The bestselling author attended Gaston College and graduated from University of
Phoenix. Hardin said that her children’s books, planners and journals are primarily geared to African
“The why is simple for me. Black people are brilliant. Black people are growing. Black people are thriving, and we deserve to see our faces on any and everything that matters,” Hardin said. “I intend to make sure this generation, and the generations to come, are able to look at journals, coloring books and books and see people who look like them.”
Ghostwriting, journal creation services, a journal creation course and author services are also offered by the entrepreneur.
But Hardin’s approach to creating HBCU themed products is timely, considering the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that affirmative action in college admissions is now deemed unconstitutional. Following the decision, a federal civil rights complaint was filed against Harvard College by The Chica Project, the African Community Economic Development of New England (ACEDONE) and the Greater Boston Latino Network (GBLN).
Harvard’s “discriminatory practice of giving preferential treatment in the admissions process to applicants with familial ties to wealthy donors and alumni (“legacy applicants”)” is being challenged, according to a press release that was issued by Lawyers for Civil Rights.
However, an uptick in HBCU enrollment and renewed interest in these institutions of higher learning was underway, during the pandemic.
“Although the data reported are small, Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ undergraduate enrollment grew 2.5% this fall, which reversed declines of 1.7% in fall 2021. This growth was driven by a 6.6% increase in freshmen enrolling at HBCUs,” according to the National Student Clearinghouse in 2022.
The report also concluded that “undergraduate enrollment continued to decline by 1.1% in fall 2022 compared to 2021,” although the decline slowed to pre-pandemic rates.
Gallup’s “Grads of Historically Black Colleges Have Well-Being Edge,” authored by Sean Seymour and Julie Ray, found that HBCUs are struggling in a variety of areas. Nevertheless, “their overall success in providing black graduates with a better college experience than they would receive at non-HBCUs needs to be examined more closely and potentially modeled at other institutions.”
HBCU graduates were reported as “feeling better prepared for life” after college. While every college-bound African American person may not choose to attend an HBCU, their value remains, although HBCUS were started at a time when Blacks were barred from enrolling in established colleges and universities. HBCUs also have a reputation for educating a mixture of underserved and underrepresented populations of all races, middle-class individuals and wealthy students.
Hardin addressed another fact in her business endeavors. Black people have been less represented in the publishing and product sectors. An uphill climb to provide more diverse books to read and products such as coloring books left a niche market open for creative people like Hardin to create their own solutions.
Hardin, who has always loved to color, recalls growing up without having coloring books with brown faces on them.
“I wanted to change that,” Hardin said.
“The No-No Book” teaches Black children to say no to things that are
uncomfortable. It also helps to teach them about boundaries, according to Hardin, the author.
Hardin starts with young audiences and works her way up to include adults while promoting
diverse products and books that integrate inclusion, self-love and pride. Feeling included is an important
part of life. Hardin’s notebooks and books drive the point home.
“I’m aiming to inspire and I won’t stop until I do,” Hardin said.