The Howard University Department of History, 1913-1973

By Winston, Michael R. | Negro History Bulletin, July-December 1998 | Go to article overview

The Howard University Department of History, 1913-1973


Winston, Michael R., Negro History Bulletin


This account of sixty years of the Howard University Department of History is an attempt to place its evolution within the context of several broad developments, notably the professionalization of historical study as an academic subject, the history of Howard University, and the growth of racial self-consciousness in response to American patterns of race relations.

Despite great advances in our understanding of the historical experience of Negroes in the United States, too little known of the internal development of black institutions. This study is an attempt to close the gap in the general knowledge of one segment of the institutional history of black higher education. It also attempts to provide an analysis of the social and intellectual developments which affected the emergence of the largest and most significant group of Negro historians in the United States. The biographical sketches hopefully deepen our understanding of the personal and professional milieux in which they developed....

Historical Study at Howard University: The Era of the Classical Curriculum, 1867-1905

The study of history as a university subject was a relatively late development in the evolution of American higher education. There were, for example, only about twenty full-time teachers of history in more than four hundred colleges and universities in the United States in 1884. In the closing decades of the nineteenth century the, there was a rapid increase in the number of university historians because of the progressive liberalization of the old classic curriculum to include history as well as, the newly emerging social sciences, which require specially trained teachers.(1) In addition, the modernization of American universities into centers of research and graduate training along the lines of German universities, which began with the founding of The John Hopkins University in 1876, stimulated a trend for the professionalization of historical study. Moreover, the founding of the American Historical Association in 1884 was a decisive step in the transformation of historical writing from a preserve of gifted and often wealthy amateurs into discipline and profession.(2)

The emergence of history as a major academic enterprise at Howard University roughly parallels the pattern established at other American universities, but with several vital points of difference which require some brief explanation.

When Howard was founded in 1867, in the wake of a brutal civil war in the midst of the bitter Reconstruction controversy about the future status of the Freedmen in American society, a key issue was the intellectual capacity of Blacks. It was of course not a new issue. During the South's counteroffensive against the abolitionists, John Calhoun had declared in the 1830s that "If a Negro could be found who could parse Greek or explain Euclid, I should be constrained to think that he has human possibilities."(3) Opposition to full citizenship and participation in politics for Negroes during Reconstruction and after was often based on assumptions like Calhoun's. Thus, the study of classics had a significance for Negroes and the founders of Negro colleges and universities that went far beyond the confines of the discussions of educational theory in the second half of the nineteenth century in the United States.(4)

For the founders of Howard University, among them men who had been long time abolitionists and Union officers in the war, the surest confirmation of the radical belief in the equal potential of Blacks was to provide them, at once and without compromise, the same education offered in the New England colleges of which they were alumni. The "classical curriculum" of Latin, Greek and mathematics was powerfully associated in the minds of teachers and students with highest aspirations of the race, and the cultural means by which a leadership group was to win for Blacks a secure place in "American civilization. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Howard University Department of History, 1913-1973
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.