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Clark Atlanta University marks its 30th anniversary

Five things to know about the HBCU

Clark Atlanta University this month is beginning a year-long celebration of its 30th anniversary.

The official plans include a $1.25 million scholarship fundraising campaign and a national tour by its president to discuss the university’s vision. Clark College and Atlanta University, which both started in the 19th century, merged in 1988 to become Clark Atlanta University.

Here are five things to know about the Historically Black College and University (HBCU).

It has all that jazz

CAU has Atlanta’s oldest jazz radio station, WCLK 91.9 FM.

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It offers degrees on all levels

Clark Atlanta is the only HBCU in Atlanta to offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

Student loan debt is a challenge

The average student loan debt for graduates is more than $40,000, which was the highest of any university in Georgia, according to a 2016 study published by the Project on Student Debt at the Institute for College Access and Success.

It has some famous graduates

Ralph Abernathy Sr., Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy III, as King prepared to give his famous "How Long, Not Long" speech at the conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery March for Voting Rights in 1965. Ralph III and his siblings called King "Uncle Marty" because the Abernathys and the Kings were close as families, as well as being co-architects of the civil rights movement. (courtesy of Donzaleigh Abernathy) (HANDOUT)

The university’s alumni includes civil rights pioneer Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, Kenya Barris, the creator of several television shows including “Black-ish,” acclaimed author and playwright Pearl Cleage, James Weldon Johnson, who wrote “Lift Every Voice And Sing,” and Tony award-winning director Kenny Leon.

You’ve probably seen the campus on film

CAU has been the backdrop for several movies and TV shows such as “Drumline,” “Stomp The Yard,” and “The Quad.”

"Drumline" (2002): Another HBCU drama, starring Orlando Jones and Nick Cannon, set in the fictional Atlanta A&T University. Real-life Atlanta HBCUs Morris Brown and Clark Atlanta feature heavily in the film. (Zade Rosenthal/Twentieth Century Fox)

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