Howard University

Howard University was established in Washington by a charter of the U.S. Congress on 2nd March, 1867. Instigated by the Radical Republicans it was named after General Oliver Howard, a Civil War hero and commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees and a leading figure in the Freeman's Bureau.

The stated purpose of Howard University when it was founded was to create "a college for the instruction of youth in the liberal arts and sciences". The Freeman's Bureau provided most of the early financial support and the majority of its students were African American. Within two years the university consisted of colleges of Liberal Arts and Medicine.

In the 1960s the faculty and student body played an important role in the civil rights movement. Howard University now operates its own hospital, radio and television stations, hotel and publishing house. In 2000 the university had 10,248 students (86 per cent African American).

Primary Sources

(1) Tony Gittens, a student at Howard University in 1969, was interviewed in 1988.

When I got to Howard, back in 1965, what disturbed me so much was the way the Howard administration tended to treat students like children. As though we couldn't take care of ourselves and their job was to make us more cultured black people, that they felt that we were these Negroes from the field and that we were to be treated like kids. And I found that absolutely insulting. I found the whole idea of this, the largest, most prestigious black institution in the country, wanting to view itself as the black Harvard as opposed to setting out its own identity.