Views of Fred. Douglass Upon the Proposed Changes in its Management
The Washington correspondent of the Chicago Inter-Ocean, after giving an account of the decision of the board of trustees of Howard University at its late meeting in deciding upon a change in its conduct and transforming it into a congregational institution, comments as follows:
This action was strongly opposed by all the colored members of the board, who look upon the movement with suspicion, and as being, if nothing worse, a flagrant departure from the original design of the university, and very inimical to its success. The vote was divided strictly on the color line. Professor Langston, at present acting president, being the choice of the colored trustees for president.
In conversation with Fred Douglass, this morning, he showed considerable feeling. He said the colored people had considered this the only one institution in the nation where they could educate their children without fear of prejudice. It had been established for them, and largely with their money, and it was no more than fit and proper, in his opinion, that they should control it. The original plan of the institution was that it should be exclusively for colored people, and as fast as colored men were educated they should be established in the professorships and trustees’ chairs; and further, that it be entirely unsectarian and embrace all branches of learning. He had hoped soon to see medicine, engineering and other professions added to its already established branches of theology and law, but this movement would defeat all such plans, and the financial interests would be controlled by the same men who had injured the prospects of the colored race in the unfortunate management of the Freedman’s Bank. Mr. Douglass had no complaint against the new president, Dr. Whipple. He was a wise and good man; but the moral effect of the change would be bad. He hoped to see the institution ultimately restored to the original control, but the new management would have one year, till the next annual meeting of the trustees, for the experiment.