Nov. 20, 1866

Credit: Courtesy of Howard University

Ten members of the First Congregational Society of Washington, D.C., met in the home of Deacon Henry Brewer. They decided to create a seminary to train Black clergymen. Within a year, the institution, which later became known as Howard University, embraced a broader mission and became an educational hub for the nearly 4 million freed from slavery. 

In 1867, the institution welcomed its first students, educating Black doctors, teachers and pastors. Charles Hamilton Houston, a vice dean at the Howard University School of Law, brought cases to fight segregation in higher education. He mentored Howard alum, Thurgood Marshall, who successfully argued the Brown v. Board of Education decision that ended segregation in public schools.

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The stories of investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell have helped put four Klansmen and a serial killer behind bars. His stories have also helped free two people from death row, exposed injustices and corruption, prompting investigations and reforms as well as the firings of boards and officials. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a longtime member of Investigative Reporters & Editors, and a winner of more than 30 other national awards, including a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” grant. After working for three decades for the statewide Clarion-Ledger, Mitchell left in 2019 and founded the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting.