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Jump Back in Time Reconstruction (1866-1877)
Portrait of Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard, officer of the Federal Army
Major General Oliver O. Howard, the namesake of Howard University

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Howard University Was Founded
November 20, 1866

On November 20, 1866, 10 members of the First Congregational Society of Washington, D.C., gathered for a missionary meeting. That evening, they decided to establish a seminary for the training of African American preachers. By early 1867, the founders had broadened their mission to include a liberal arts college and university. They decided to name the university for Major General Oliver O. Howard, a Civil War hero and Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau, a U.S. government agency established in 1865 to aid freed blacks. Howard was also one of the early founders of the institution in Washington.
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