Howard University

HUSL 140th Anniversary

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sub_title_homepage.jpg Since its founding in 1869, the School of Law has been a driving force in the transformation of the legal tenets of our society. Beginning January 2009, the School of Law will celebrate 140 years of legal education and commitment to defending the rights of all. We will mark this momentous occasion with a year long celebration.

The School of Law will host a variety of events that highlight the scholarship of faculty and students, the ingenuity of our graduates and the rich history of pioneers and social engineers that have challenged our legal system.

The 140th anniversary will also serve to generate funds to support the continued training of law students as well as strengthen our relationship with alumni.


  1. That the law school was started as a night school and only became a full time day school in 1928.

  2. That the law school’s first commencement was on February 3, 1871? The speakers included several distinguished union and abolitionist leaders, including Otis Howard and William T. Sherman.

  3. That the first dean of the law school, John Mercer Langston, was born into slavery.

  4. That Charlotte Ray, class of 1872, was the first woman to graduate from the law school and was also the first woman admitted to the DC Bar.

  5. That in 1931, Clarence Darrow served as a judge for the moot court team.

  6. That in 1918, Charles Hamilton Houston was commissioned as an Artillery Officer in the United States Army, becoming one of the first African Americans to be so honored.

  7. That the current law school campus was previously the home of Dumbarton College of the Holy Cross, a Catholic woman’s liberal arts college.

  8. That the law school has produced three mayors of Washington, DC, including Walter Washington ’48, Sharon Pratt Kelly ’68, and Adrian Fenty ’96.

  9. That the current dean of the law school, Kurt L. Schmoke, was mayor of Baltimore from 1987 until 1999.


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updated: April 22, 2009