About

We are extremely proud of the rich legacy and tradition of Howard’s Department of History.

Some very significant scholars of History have passed through this department since its founding in 1913 -- either as students or faculty, including Carter G. Woodson (founder of black History month), Charles H. Wesley, Rayford W. Logan, Merz Tate, John Hope Franklin, Lorraine A. Williams, and Mary Frances Berry, to name just a few.

Howard University’s legacy is intrinsically linked to the Department of History. Throughout its 152 years, the institution has relied on us to collect, preserve, and write the University’s history, including for the sesquicentennial commemoration. Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, have written books on the history of the University and the department. It is the historians trained in our department who now serve as gatekeepers of Moorland-Spingarn—the most significant archive of African American history on earth.  Our current professors are not only keepers and shapers of that legacy, but continue it.

In 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked our Graduate Program 79th in the nation.

Undergraduate, MA, and PhD Programs with Substance 

Our strengths rest in 19th century U.S., African American, and the African Diaspora history. No other Department in the country is as strong in the history of Slavery as Howard University, with 6 historians who specialize in the field, who have published more than twenty books collectively. 

Our African Diaspora and Public History concentrations further underscore our strengths. Howard’s Department of History was not only a pioneer in establishing the field of African history, but one of our own-- Distinguished Professor (Emeritus) Joseph E. Harris-- created the African Diaspora field. Time has only made us much stronger in this area, with current scholars who specialize in the history of Africa, Brazil, Caribbean, Latin America, and the black Pacific.

Our Public History program has produced more black public historians than any other institution in the world. Employers understand that if they are seeking to employ a black public historian, Howard University’s Department of History is the place to find them. Alumni of this program are employed at the National Archives, U.S. Department of State, Smithsonian Museums, National Parks Service, Capitol Hill, and in archives at various colleges across the U.S.

A Legacy of Producing Leaders in their Fields 

One our recent alumni directs Harvard University’s Schlesinger Library. Others direct smaller African American history museums throughout the nation, including the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the Evansville African American History Museum. One of our current doctoral students is the Executive Director of the Association of African American Museums.

Certainly, it would not be hyperbole to state that without Howard’s History department, the field of Public History would be far less diverse. Without a doubt, a degree from this department garners respect and prepares students to excel in any capacity they choose.