Moorland-Spingarn Research Center


Editorial Review

The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, located inside Howard University's Founders' Library, is one of the world's largest repositories of information about Africa and people of African descent. The center regularly displays portions of its collections.

Inside the Library Division's Moorland Reading Room, a non-circulating library open to the public, hang portraits of the center's namesakes and directors, as well as photographs of former Howard liberal arts professors. The hall outside the Reading Room showcases rotating literary displays and a pictorial history, "The Long Walk: The Placemaking Legacy of Howard University," which traces the physical development of the campus.

The Howard University Museum houses another pictorial history, "Howard in Retrospect: Images of the Capstone," an impressive collection of photographs of students, faculty and prominent campus visitors dating back to the 1800s, including an 1897 photo of Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, surgeon-in-charge of Howard's Freedmen's Hospital. Ghanaian independence leader Kwame Nkrumah is shown on campus in 1938, as is Malcolm X in 1961. Mary McLeod Bethune, W.E.B. DuBois and George Washington Carver are among other prominent African American guests.

But the most compelling pictures are of late-19th-century African American students, still making the transition out of slavery. Other exhibits shown here have been "A Century of Black Photographers: 1840-1960" and "An Exhibition of Local Black Women Photographers."

-- Lori Robinson