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Black Arts and Culture

Historic HBCU Library Will Be Modernized as National Treasure

By Tatyana Hopkins

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from Howard University News Service


Howard University’s historic Founders Library is now a national treasure, as named by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The preservation organization so far has renovated 14 of 50 projects nationally and promises to help bring the venerable building into the 21st century with the latest technological improvements. Representatives from the National Trust and Howard said they will work together to raise the money for the improvements and provide the expertise to transform the library, which is the home to Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, the world’s largest non-circulating collection for documentation of the history and culture of people of African descent.

Writers, researchers and historians from around the world use its facilities. Founders is the first site at a historically Black college or university to be named a national treasure. “The designation of Founders Library as a national treasure is an honor,” Howard President Wayne A.I. Frederick said Monday of the partnership. “This recognition is a testament to the many treasures here at Howard University. “Additionally, we are excited to partner with the National Trust for the restoration of the Library, as we continue to make strides in offering our students a preeminent education with the best available resources..” National Trust experts will also advise Howard on best practices to ensure the historic fabric is maintained for generations to come, Meeks said.

“Historic libraries like Founders can be reimagined to fit the needs of the modern age, while continuing to serve as monuments of past ideals and achievement,” she said. “We look forward to working closely with the university to ensure the creation of a more versatile and functional library – one that honors its distinctive character and rich history.” Founders was designed by African-American architect Albert I. Cassell under the first Black president of the university, using over $1 million from the federal Public Works Administration. The project took two years to complete and opened in 1939. It was named in memory of the founders of the university and opened as one of the largest and most extensive research facilities on the campus of a historically Black college or university.

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