Academic Research


The HU Board of Trustees (HUBOT) has made a major commitment to reestablishing Howard University Libraries (HUL), including its world-renown Moorland-Spingarn Research Center (MSRC) as major centers of information, innovation, and scholarship. The MSRC is located on the first and ground floors of the Founders Library. Explore the MSRC's resources here.

Specialized Research Collections

The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center (MSRC) houses one of the most important Africana collections in the United States. It is a nationally-recognized comprehensive documentation center that preserves the history of peoples of African descent in Africa, South/Central America, the Caribbean, and the United States, Of the 118,391 volumes, pamphlets, and government documents, more than 20,000 volumes are on Africa. African languages also are available in holdings of novels, textbooks, and poetry anthologies. Approximately 58 percent of the collection’s 11,000 microfilms deal directly with Africa. The MSRC continues to increase its periodicals and newspaper holdings, more than 50 percent of which are in African languages. The MSRC Library Division also possesses over 800 different periodicals from the African continent and diaspora. More than 570 are currently received on a regular basis, 200 of which come directly from Africa. Ninety-five of the 205 regularly received newspapers are African, as are 190 of the 460 newspapers on microfilm. The division received a gift several years ago of more than 7,000 photographs of Liberia covering a 20 year period.

Other African-related collections include the papers of Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of the Republic of Ghana; Congressman Charles Diggs, the former chairman of the House Africa sub-Committee; Paul and Eslanda Robeson; Mark Hanna Watkins, a linguist whose papers contain original course materials for Swahili and Yoruba; Leo Hansberry, a pioneering Africanist; Elsie M. Lewis, a Howard historian; and Glen Carrington, whose collection contains more than 2,200 volumes, manuscripts, pieces, and notes on African art and Afro-American music and literature. A special Ethiopian collection contains 213 volumes in both the Amharic and English languages. The very large E. Franklin Frazier Collection receives a great deal of research attention by sociologists.

The extensive resources on Africa housed in the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center are augmented by 10,690 titles on Africa housed in branch libraries. These are open to all students, visiting scholars and consortium members 102 hours each week of the academic year.

HU belongs to the WRLC of DC area universities (American, Catholic, Georgetown, George Mason, George Washington, the Maryland-College Park, and others). HU faculty and students have access to any item in a member institution’s libraries within 24 hours of placing their on-line request. In addition, they can draw on the voluminous Africana holdings in the Library of Congress, and at the National Institute of Health, the Museum of African Art, USAID, and the National Archives.

Centers Linkages

HU places a high priority on international and area studies, and Africa is a particular focus at HU. The Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center is a central pillar in international and Africa-related linkages at HU. It runs a Diplomat-In-Residence program as well as three student-focused programs: The Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship program, the Patricia Roberts Harris Public Affairs program, and the International Affairs Summer Enrichment Program, all enable HU students and others to intern with the US Department of State, both in the US and at embassies abroad. The Bunche Center also runs a Study Abroad Program and coordinates campus visits and addresses by African heads of state, ambassadors, and other officials and dignitaries. Students matriculating at HU study abroad.

Visit the Ralph J. Bunche Center here.