On November 20, 1866, ten members of the First Congregational Society of Washington, D.C., gathered in the home of Deacon Henry Brewster for a missionary meeting. While there, they resolved to establish a seminary for the training of African-American clergymen. By early 1867, the founders had broadened their mission to encompass colleges of liberal arts and medicine.
Howard University was incorporated on March 2, 1867, and accepted its first students the following May. Its founders envisioned the institution as a resource for educating and training #black physicians, teachers, and ministers from the nearly four million recently emancipated slaves.
The university was named for Major General Oliver O. Howard, a founder of the university as well as a Civil War hero and commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau (1865-72). Howard directed considerable resources towards establishing the university, including the original three-acre campus, the main building, and the old medical school.
Howard University was one of several educational institutions funded by the Freedmen’s Bureau for the purposes of providing education for the freedmen. Congress had established the bureau in 1865 to provide practical assistance to the newly freed slaves. The bureau facilitated the building of 45 hospitals and the education of approximately 150,000 former slaves before it was dismantled in 1872.
Article found @http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/nov20.html