- Alonford James Robinson
Like many of more than one hundred Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the United States, Howard was founded by whites. In 1866 ten members of the First Congregational Society of Washington, D.C., established the Howard Normal and Theological Institute for Education of Teachers and Preachers. The seminary, named in honor of the commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau, Major General Oliver Otis Howard, received its university charter from President Andrew Johnson in March 1867. Two months later, the board of trustees shortened its name to Howard University and opened its doors to four young white girls—the daughters of some of the university's trustees and faculty.
Although abolitionist Frederick Douglass was appointed to the university's board in 1871 and educator Booker T. Washington in 1907 very few African Americans were involved in either the administration or governance of the university during its early years In addition ...
A version of this article originally appeared in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience.