Interview with Charles Epps

It was '68.


When the, ah, undergraduate students took over the Administration Building in 1968 and voiced as one of their concerns that Howard become a Black university, I found something incongruous about that. In fact paradoxical because Howard had always been a Black university. We say predominantly Black but the fact of the matter was that it was Black. In my class of 1500 students there was one White student. So, there was no fact, there was no question about it being Black but it had a long tradition of training Black leaders in this country. And it was, for all practical purposes, a Black university. I don't know how it could have been more Black. And I'm not sure what they were trying to say but Howard provided a mainstream education which prepared people to be competitive in every field. I don't recognize and I don't think the world recognizes that there is any Black physics. There's no Black engineering. There's no Black medicine. So that the, the, the mission of the university was to train students to be competitive and competent in whatever field **and, and I'm not sure what they were trying to say. But, ah, there was no such thing as, ah, Howard becoming Black than it was. It was a, a Black, predominantly Black university.