Howard University Essay

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Prior to the Civil War, higher education for African American students was nearly nonexistent. The small percentage who did receive education, such as Thurgood Marshall, often studied in informal and sometimes aggressive settings. Some were forced to educate themselves completely. Some schools for elementary and secondary training existed, such as the Institute for Colored Youth, a school started in the early 1830’s by a group of Philadelphia Quakers. A college education was also offered to a limited number of scholars at schools like Oberlin College in Ohio and Berea College in Kentucky.

Between 1861 and 1870, the American Missionary Association (AMA) founded seven black colleges and 13 normal (teaching) schools. Many of these institutions, along with the private historical black colleges and universities founded later by the AMA, the Freedmen’s Bureau, and black churches, became the backbone of black higher education, producing African American leaders for generations to come. (www. collegeview. com) In the years succeeding the Civil War, with the 13th Amendment’s abolition of slavery and reconstruction in the South, things began to change. In November 1866, shortly after the end of the Civil War, members of the First Congregational Society of Washington considered establishing a theological seminary for the education of African-American clergymen. Within a few weeks, the concept expanded to include a provision for establishing a University. Within two years, the University consisted of the colleges of Liberal Arts and Medicine. The new institution was named for General Oliver O. Howard, a Civil War hero who was both a founder of the University and, at the same time, commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau”. (www. howard. du) Beginning the research of Howard University in Washington District of Columbia showed from the start that this was a special university and that there were special circumstances surrounding it. This University seemed to be born out of the Civil War and was to be used an ultimate example of giving back; giving back to all the freed people that for centuries had been denied education. The motivation to establish Howard University appears to be an honorable endeavor. The heritage of Howard is impressive to say the least some of the folks that have walked the halls and graduated from the college are many of America’s elite.

When one hears the name Thurgood Marshall, who was the first black member of the Supreme Court, or Jessye Norman, a famous opera singer, or Ambassador to the United Nations, Andrew Young, one can think of Howard as all these famous over achievers attended Howard. There a many, many more people than one realizes for example one of the most famous T. V. moms Phylicia Rashad, aka Mrs. Huxtable or author Toni Morrison. The list goes on and on. Howard has proven itself over the last century and accomplished all its founders’ set out for it to do and much more.

Just looking over this small list of a few of Howard’s alumni shows this. Major General Oliver Otis Howard, of Leeds Maine is the gentleman who receives credit as this prestigious school is named after him. This is primarily because of the diligence he is given credit for in trying to assist people who had been slaves after the war and for his leadership of the Freedmen’s Bureau also after the war. Howard University, Washington D. C. “…was named in recognition of his work in the bureau and as one of the university’s founders. He served as the university’s president (1869–74). Howard University is considered a very historical school of higher education for blacks. What I thought is interesting is that Howard is named for Major General Oliver O. Howard who had been a student from the famous West Point Military Academy, which is still active today and producing many of our current military leaders. As Major General Oliver O. Howard was listed as one of the early presidents of this exemplary school for blacks, but he was not a black man at all. I wanted to research others that had also held the leadership for this University along with Major General Howard and what their leadership philosophy was.

The University was chartered on March 2, 1867, and then later amended in 1928. (www. howard. edu) Howard University is one of the oldest schools in the United States to primarily serve the freed people. Many of the people long ago that were in charge of educating all these freedmen (and women) through Howard University were diligent and seemed to want to do the best that could be done for these newly freed people. Many of them but not all were reported irregularities in the Freedmen’s bureau that temporarily oversaw Howard in the early beginnings.

The culture and nightlife of DC’s famous areas such as U Street, fascinated many well-known entertainers and scholars. This was the perfect place for Howard University to become prominent to a distinguished academic status, partly because of its proximity to the seat of government and partly for the presence of immeasurable bountiful foundations, policy organizations and for the existence of an outsized, vigorous and affluent black population. Students within the university were very opinionated and voiced their opinions through student sit-ins, rallies and other movements.

Howard University has played an important role in American History and the Civil Rights Movement on a number of occasions. Alain Locke, Chair of the Department of Philosophy and first African American Rhodes Scholar, authored The New Negro, which helped to usher in the Harlem Renaissance. (Wikipedia) Many students were participants of the “Freedom Ride”, such as Diane Nash, Rev. James Morris Lawson Jr. , Rev. William Sloane Coffin Jr. and James Leonard Farmer. Reading the history of Howard University explains that Dr. Mordecai W. Johnson assumed the job of being the first black president of Howard in 1926 (Howard’s second charter date). Dyson) The school had no academic standing, less than 2,000 students attending and the funding stood at a little over half a million dollars. Dr. Johnson stayed the president of the University until 1960. During that time he accomplished “all schools and colleges, all fully accredited; 6,000 students; a budget of $8 million… a greatly enlarged faculty that included some of the most prominent black scholars of the day…the University’s enhanced academic status was the 1955 inauguration of graduate programs that had the authority to grant the PhD degree. ” (www. howard. du) Following Dr. Johnson’s departure (in 1969) as president came Dr. James M. Nabrit, Jr. “who was previously Secretary of the University and Dean of the Law School. A leading constitutional lawyer and educator, Dr. Nabrit established at Howard in 1938, what is generally considered the first systematic course in civil rights in an American law school. ”(Britannica) Howard University had lived up to and continues to excel in the primary goal, which is also the motto of Howard “Equal Rights and Knowledge for all”. “Today, Howard University is one of the only 48 U. S. rivate, Doctoral/Research Extensive universities, comprising 12 schools and colleges with 10,500 students enjoying academic pursuits in more than 120 area of study leading to undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. The University continues to attract the nation’s top students and produces more on campus African American Ph. D’s than any other university in the world. Since 1998, the University has produced a Rhoades Scholar, a Truman Scholar, six Fulbright Scholar and nine Pickering Fellows”. (www. howard. edu) References Brief History of Howard University. n. d. ). Brief History. Retrieved from http://www. howard. edu/explore/history. htm Four Freedom Riders. (06/02/1961). Four Freedom Riders, 77(23), 1p, 19. Freedmen’s Bureau (American history). (n. d. ). Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Retrieved February 20, 2012, from http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/218498/Freedmens-Bureau Howard University. (n. d. ). – Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 20, 2012, from http://en. m. wikipedia. org/wiki/Howard_University Howard University (university, Washington, District of Columbia, United States). (n. . ). Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Retrieved February 20, 2012, from http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/273482/Howard-University Oliver O. Howard (United States military officer). (n. d. ). Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Retrieved from http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/273459/Oliver-O-Howard The History of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. (n. d. ). The Historical Black College and University ? A Rich Tradition. Retrieved from http://www. collegeview. com/articles/article/the-history-of-historically-black-colleges-and-universities

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