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The National Society of Black Engineers boasts a nationwide membership of 35,000-plus members but it started out with just a couple of students in the 70’s on the grounds of Purdue University.

The late Edward Barnette (also spelled Barnett is some printings) and Fred Cooper, both engineering students approached the dean of their program about creating a group for Black students. The pair observed that in the late 1960s, 80 percent of Black engineering freshmen dropped out of school.

With the stated goal of recruiting and retaining students, Barnette, Cooper and a Black faculty member created the Society of Black Engineers (SBE).

By 1974, the group had grown in size and was expanded further by the efforts of the “Chicago Six.” Anthony Harris, Brian Harris, Stanley L. Kirtley, John W. Logan, Jr., Edward A. Coleman, and George A. Smith were a successful group of SBE members who wanted to expand their efforts nationally.

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8 thoughts on “Little Known Black History Fact: Founding Of NSBE

  1. Sᴛᴀʀᴛ ᴡᴏʀᴋɪɴɢ ғʀᴏᴍ ʜᴏᴍᴇ! Gʀᴇᴀᴛ ᴊᴏʙ ғᴏʀ sᴛᴜᴅᴇɴᴛs, sᴛᴀʏ-ᴀᴛ-ʜᴏᴍᴇ ᴍᴏᴍs ᴏʀ ᴀɴʏᴏɴᴇ ɴᴇᴇᴅɪɴɢ ᴀɴ ᴇxᴛʀᴀ ɪɴᴄᴏᴍᴇ… Yᴏᴜ ᴏɴʟʏ ɴᴇᴇᴅ ᴀ ᴄᴏᴍᴘᴜᴛᴇʀ ᴀɴᴅ ᴀ ʀᴇʟɪᴀʙʟᴇ Mᴀᴋᴇ $90 ʜᴏᴜʀʟʏ ᴀɴᴅ ᴜᴘ ᴛᴏ $12000 ᴀ ᴍᴏɴᴛʜ ʙʏ ғᴏʟʟᴏᴡɪɴɢ ʟɪɴᴋ ᴀᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴏᴛᴛᴏᴍ ᴀɴᴅ sɪɢɴɪɴɢ ᴜᴘ… W­­­­W­­­­W.J­­­­O­­­­B­­­­S­­­­6000.C­­­­O­­­­M

  2. This is in deed a great organization. I’ve been to one of their conventions before. We always hear about the negative things (some) Black people are doing, and to seldom hear about, and uplift a wonderful group like

  3. Kenneth Pointer on said:

    This is a memorable picture. Dr. Arthur Bond was the catalyst and mentor that made it happen. Purdue’s Campus Culture at that time was not receptive to Black Students and was reflective of a Nation still dealing with the issue of “Race”. I hope and pray that NSBE continues to move to higher heights!!!

    Kenneth Pointer

    • Amen Ken! Those of us who benefited from Dr. Bond’s mentorship have an obligation to inform young engineering students that NSBE is here today because Dr. Bond was here yesterday.

  4. Angela Wheeler on said:

    I am honored to have served this fine nonprofit organization, to stimulate leadership in others, and to learn from its alumni and student members. The magazine division where I served as publisher is quite and enterprise in itself. Hats off to the leaders to come and those gone in operations and program management! Long live NSBE to strengthen the pipeline of top technical talent from U.S. communities of color.

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