Wednesday, November 21, 2007


The Founders Library on the campus of Howard University

When you drive along Georgia Avenue just north of Florida Avenue, you pass Howard University, one of more than 100 historic black colleges and universities in the United States. Originally conceived after the Civil War as a seminary for black theologians, the idea grew to include building a university. In 1867, Congress and President Andrew Johnson approved a charter for the school and Howard University was born. It started with a college of liberal arts and a college of medicine and has since grown to include engineering, science, literature, dentistry, pharmacology, and a seminary. Named after Civil War Union General Oliver O. Howard, the university is considered to be among the Ivy League of historic black colleges and universities.

Here's a good talking point for your next dinner party: in order to carry the respected label "Historic Black Universities and Colleges" the school must have been chartered before 1964--prior to passage of the Higher Education Act of 1965--and must have as its "mission the education of black Americans."

Among Howard's most notable alumni are these people:

Thurgood Marshall, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
L. Douglas Wilder, former Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the first African-American governor in the U.S.
Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author
Phylicia Rashad, Emmy Award-winning actress
Jessye Norman, Opera Singer
Andrew Young, U.N. Ambassador and former mayor

To name but a very few. If you have a chance to visit any of this city's many colleges and universities, be sure to visit this one.

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 11/07

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