Howard Community Gathers To Remember Former University President

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From the Washington Post:

Three generations of the Howard University community gathered Friday to remember James Edward Cheek, the longtime Howard president who envisioned a “second emancipation” of African Americans through scholarship.

Cheek died Jan. 8 in North Carolina at 77. He was buried there, while fierce snowstorms forced the postponement of a memorial service in Washington.

GALLERY: Famous HBCU Alumni

The service, held in the Howard chapel, was about reclaiming Cheek’s legacy. He led Howard through the 1970s and 1980s and largely built the campus that stands today.

Cheek came to Howard at 37 and unleashed a torrent of energy. He hired hundreds of faculty members, multiplied the operating budget nearly tenfold, led a massive building program and launched the nation’s first black-owned public television station. He earned the respect of students and silenced campus protests — for a time, anyway.

He fought off a challenge from historically white universities, which had begun to compete for top black students, by voicing a provocative new vision for Howard and other historically black institutions as “weapons of our people’s liberation” and “battlegrounds for the serious.”

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