Photo Credit: Getty - Image of Howard University Graduates

Who is Howard University?

Melissa W.

What originally started in 1867 as a seminary for educating Black clergymen shortly after the end of the American Civil War, Howard University quickly became an all-encompassing college and one of the most influential institutions during the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

Named after General Oliver O. Howard who served as the Commissioner of the Freedman’s Bureau -- a US government agency that aided freed blacks after the war -- Howard University was responsible for the educating of 150,000 freed slaves within the first 5 years of its creation.

Howard has always been open to students of all races, but their primary obligation is to provide advanced studies for blacks. According to their website, Howard University “...has long held a commitment to the study of disadvantaged persons in American society and throughout the world. The goal is the elimination of inequities related to race, color, social, economic and political circumstances. As the only truly comprehensive predominantly Black university, Howard is one of the major engineers of change in our society. Through its traditional and cutting-edge academic programs, The University seeks to improve the circumstances of all people in the search for peace and justice on earth.”

The Washington D.C. school is financially supported in large part from government funding, yet remains classified as a privately-controlled institution. They rank amongst the highest producers of the nation’s Black professionals in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, engineering, nursing, architecture, religion, law, music, and education. It is one of only 48 US private, doctoral/research-extensive universities and is recognized as an institution that produces more on-campus African American Ph.D.s than any other university in the world. Howard University is also responsible for becoming a well-respected center for training Black lawyers in civil rights law and fosters an influential faculty that has provided revelatory leadership in the African American community. The University is well-known for their massive library collection that is home to 1.8 million volumes, the majority of which are dedicated to the history of people from African descent around the world. The library is revered as one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive of its kind.

Howard University continues to be an influential and active voice for racial injustices around the world, specifically in the US.

While our team is still searching to find the right words to express our utter disgust and sadness over the senseless actions leading to the loss of George Floyd along with the realization of the state of racism in our country, we stand in solidarity with our Black and Brown friends, colleagues, strangers, and graduates while we all fight for a better tomorrow. The Class of 2020 is already being faced with monumental hurdles and continued race inequities should not be one of them.

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