February 27: In honor of Black History Month, Scholars attended a lecture and tour at Howard University. Howard University began as a federally chartered university for the education of African Americans. Throughout its history and through to the present day, it plays an important role in empowering and educating African-American students.
After a warm welcome from university representatives, Dr. E. Ethelbert Miller, poet and Director of the African American Studies Resource Center spoke to Scholars about Black poetry and his own experiences attending Howard in the late 1960s. He explained the significance of Black poetry and the role Howard University played in empowering young black students during the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. He also treated Scholars to readings of several poems from the journal he edits, Poet Lore, the oldest poetry magazine published in the United States.
Following Dr. Miller, Dr. Edna Medford, Chair of the Department of History, spoke on the history of Freedman’s Hospital (Now Howard University Hospital), which was the first hospital founded for the treatment of escaped slaves. She also gave an overview of Howard University’s history from its’ beginnings to the present day.
After a light reception, Scholars went on a tour of Howard University and its’ College of Medicine. In the College of Medicine Scholars were impressed to “meet” several medical dummies, unique to Howard, that could be programmed to simulate real life medical situations for students. The simulation dummies blinked, reacted to movement and even talked to Scholars in different languages.
Scholars noted afterwards that while they had heard about Howard University before, they had had no idea about its cultural and historical significance in African-American history. One Scholar, upon learning about Howard’s exchange with different countries, expressed great interest in recommending Howard to students in her home country.