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CMSI Announces New Report on Black Youth Voters at Florida HBCUs


Natalie Passov | | 848-932-0728 

New Brunswick, N.J., November 14, 2023 – The Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) is proud to announce the release of its latest report, “The Other Black Voter: Analyzing the Political Socialization of Florida’s HBCU Students.” The report illuminates the engagement and perspectives of Black youth voters educated at Florida’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and how they drive meaningful change in American politics. 

The report is grounded in American civic engagement discourse, as expressed by Black youth voters aged 18-29. This demographic’s perspective is “largely overlooked and inadequately represented in research” on civic engagement. 

“While extensive research has explored the subject of political socialization, there remains a significant knowledge gap concerning our understanding of voters of color, particularly in terms of how political beliefs and values are developed among young Black voters,” the report highlights.

“In preparation for the 2024 presidential election, this work is more important than ever,” mentioned Marybeth Gasman, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University. 

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), researchers surveyed students at HBCUs in Florida and asked participants about political socialization, relevant political issues, political advertisements, and the importance of culturally relevant messaging. 

"We set out to share an under-discussed fact about Black Youth Voters: they have evolved,” said lead report author and Visiting Scholar with CMSI, Amanda Wilkerson. “I anticipate that this work will revitalize our comprehension of the perspectives of Black youth voters in ways that allows post-secondary institutions and political actors to reimagine tactics that support their political socialization."

Findings show that Black voters ages 18-29 are skeptical about digital messaging on social media platforms, doubt candidates who use negative campaign advertisements, and demand tangible and substantial actions from individuals elected to office. The report also notes that political activism is heightened when no candidate aligns with the views of Black youth voters. No longer does voting for the “lesser evil” satisfy this group of voters. Further, simplified access to voting information has become “crucial” to this group’s participation.

“HBCUs have shaped elections and the entire political landscape, but are often ignored by researchers. This research sheds light on how students at HBCUs form their political opinions, how they vote, and how they feel about political messaging,” shared report co-author Rebecca Entress.

Authors offer a set of recommendations to researchers, practitioners, institutions of higher education, and non-partisan voting organizations. These include optimizing civic engagement communication, diversifying engagement approaches, elevating participation and learning, guaranteeing voting and knowledge accessibility, and leveraging social media in political messaging. 

The report can be found here


About the Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions  

The Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) brings together researchers and practitioners from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions. CMSI’s goals include elevating the educational contributions of MSIs; ensuring that they are a part of national conversations; bringing awareness to the vital role MSIs play in the nation’s economic development; increasing the rigorous scholarship of MSIs; connecting MSIs’ academic and administrative leadership to promote reform initiatives; and strengthening efforts to close educational achievement gaps among disadvantaged communities. The Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions is part of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Leadership, Equity and Justice (Proctor Institute) at the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. For further information about CMSI, please visit

Tuesday, November 14, 2023
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