Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel, Frederick Douglass Memorial Hall, and Founders Library at Howard University in Washington, DC, were important settings for this institution's role in the legal establishment of racially desegregated public education.
Two nationally recognized leaders of that fight, Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall, were closely associated with Howard University.
From 1929, Howard Law School became an educational training ground, through the vision of Charles Hamilton Houston, for the development of activist black lawyers dedicated to securing the civil rights of all people of color.
Howard University also provided preparation of the legal strategy presented by Thurgood Marshall and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's (NAACP) Legal Defense Fund leading to the historic decisions in Brown v. Board of Education ending segregation in education.
The university represents the role that institutions of higher learning played in bringing about racial desegregation in education. Howard University led the country in the education of civil rights attorneys dedicated to legally securing desegregation, the academic research supporting the unconstitutionality of segregation, and the community outreach needed to challenge and define the interpretation of the United States Constitution in American society.
No other university provided the same level of support to the desegregation fight. Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel, Founders Library, and Frederick Douglass Memorial Hall, as well as one contributing site, are located on the main campus of Howard University.
These buildings became National Historic Landmarks in 2001.