Howard University was established in Washington by a charter of the U.S. Congress on 2nd March, 1867. Instigated by the Radical Republicans it was named after General Oliver Howard, a Civil War hero and commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees and a leading figure in the Freeman's Bureau.
The stated purpose of Howard University when it was founded was to create "a college for the instruction of youth in the liberal arts and sciences". The Freeman's Bureau provided most of the early financial support and the majority of its students were African American. Within two years the university consisted of colleges of Liberal Arts and Medicine.
In the 1960s the faculty and student body played an important role in the civil rights movement. Howard University now operates its own hospital, radio and television stations, hotel and publishing house. In 2000 the university had 10,248 students (86 per cent African American).
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