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Renowned Historian and Scholar Michael R. Winston Named Orator for Howard University’s 157th Charter Day Convocation

An alumnus and founding director of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Winston returns to celebrate the anniversary of the University’s founding

Founders Library at Howard University

WASHINGTON - Michael R. Winston, Ph.D. (B.A. ’62), a highly respected scholar who spent more than 40 years as a member of the Howard University faculty, will return to the University to deliver the keynote address at the 157th Charter Day Convocation Friday, March 1. 

The convocation, an annual event that marks the founding of Howard University, will take place at Cramton Auditorium, and begin at 11 a.m. It will be livestreamed on Howard University’s YouTube channel and air on WHUR FM radio. On March 16, a full rebroadcast is scheduled to air on WHUT, Howard University’s public television station. 

Michael Winston, Ph.D., (B.A. '62), the 157th Charter Day Convocation Orator (Source: Michael Winston)


Winston’s relationship with Howard University dates back more than 65 years ago. After graduating from Stuyvesant High School in his native New York City, Winston began his matriculation at Howard University where he graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in history. A Phi Beta Kappa scholar, Winston studied British intellectual and social history at the University of Edinburgh as a Moten Fellow. He also earned his master’s degree in French history and Ph.D. in European history from the University of California at Berkeley. But it is at Howard University where Winston’s knowledge of and appreciation for history created lasting impact.  

In 1968, Winston was named assistant dean of the College of Liberal Arts, known as the College of Arts and Sciences today. He would eventually become the Director of Research in the Department of History before becoming the first director of Howard’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, the largest and most comprehensive repository of documents and books on the global Black experience, including the personal and professional works of notable figures in Black history such as Alain Locke, Mary Frances Berry, Kwame Nkrumah, and Vernon Jordan. Founded as Moorland Library in 1914, Moorland-Spingarn grew under Winston’s leadership to become a renowned research center that consists of a University Archives Division, Manuscripts Division, Black Press Archives, library, and museum. And, in 2019, the University awarded Winston an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. 

Winston is co-author with Rayford W. Logan of “The Negro in the United States, Vol. 11,” and author of “The Howard University Department of History, 1913-1973.” He is also co-editor with Rayford W. Logan of The Dictionary of American Negro Biography, and co-editor with Genna Rae McNeil of Historical Judgments Reconsidered. He has also authored articles and reviews for many scholarly and professional journals. In 2012, the Oxford Handbook of Psychology included his collaborative research with Cynthia E. Winston-Proctor, “Cultural Psychology of Racial Ideology in Historical Perspective: An Analytic Approach to Understanding Racialized Societies and the Psychological Effects on Lives.” 

Howard University President Ben Vinson III, Ph.D., said Winston’s career has had a far-reaching impact on the University and its stakeholders. A historian himself, Vinson believes Winston will have much to share about Howard’s history and current relevance during his Charter Day Convocation address. 

“I have long admired the impressive career of Michael Winston and the ways in which he has used his knowledge and passion for accurately telling stories about the history of our nation and our world,” Vinson said. “As we prepare to assemble for Charter Day Convocation later this week, I look forward to hearing from Dr. Winston and I am sure we will all gain a greater understanding of the important role Howard University has played and its impact on our world.” 

The Charter Day Convocation is a part of a weeklong celebration of Howard University’s founding. On March 2, 1867, then-President Andrew Jackson signed a bill granting Howard University a charter to provide opportunities to those who previously had limited access to education. Since its founding, Howard has become one of the world’s premier institutions of higher learning with an esteemed list of alumni, including Vice President Kamala Harris, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Academy Award-nominated actor Chadwick Boseman, Grammy Award-winning opera singer Jessye Norman, and ophthalmologist and inventor Patricia Bath.  

In addition to the Charter Day Convocation, Howard will host a Bison Spirit Week with a variety of daily activities designed to increase engagement and enthusiasm around the University’s anniversary for students, employees, and alumni. The week will end with the 100th Charter Day Dinner on Saturday, March 2 at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Washington. The dinner, which is the University’s primary fundraiser for student scholarships, will feature actor Anthony Anderson (BFA ’22) as the emcee and alumnus singer Kenny Lattimore, who will provide the entertainment for the evening. For more information and to purchase tickets for the dinner, visit the 2024 Charter Day Dinner site

Media Contact: Monica Lewis; monica.lewis@howard.edu 

About Howard University  

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university comprising 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced three Schwarzman Scholars, four Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu