Lonely Planet review for Howard University
The Shaw neighborhood is as defined by Howard University as Georgetown is by her titular school. Founded in 1867, this remains the nation’s most prestigious traditionally African American institute of higher education. Distinguished alumni include the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (who enrolled after he was turned away from the University of Maryland’s then all-white law school), Ralph Bunche, Nobel laureate Toni Morrison and former New York City mayor David Dinkins. Today Howard enrolls around 12,000 students in 18 schools. There are campus tours (202-806-2755) and a friendly Welcome Center (1739 7th St NW). The surrounding streets are largely filled with vegan cafes serving ital (Rastafari-approved) food, bookstores selling Pan-African and black nationalist lit, and record stores stocked with funk, jazz, blues and hip-hop. Founders’ Library, a handsome Georgian building with a gold spire and giant clock, is the campus’ architectural centerpiece. It houses the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center (202-806-7239; 9am-4:45pm Mon & Wed, to 4:30pm Fri), which boasts the nation’s largest collection of African American literature.