Every day this month, the Center for Black Educator Development, in partnership with Phillys7thWard.org and Citizen Ed, will highlight a Black Educator Hall of Famer. But, don’t forget, e’ry month is Black History Month…February is just the Blackest.
Today, our featured Black Educator is Dwight Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Dwight O. W. Holmes was born in West Virginia on November 18, 1877. Dr. Holmes attended Howard University’s Preparatory High School and later Howard University proper where he was a star football player for the Bison. In addition to being captain of the football and baseball teams, Dr. Holmes was the class valedictorian in 1901.
Dr. Holmes received both his masters and doctoral degrees form Columbia University in 1912. He also took art and education classes at Johns Hopkins University.
After graduation from Howard, Dr. Holmes became an instructor at Sumner High School in St. Louis and in 1902 he was appointed to teach science courses at Douglass High School of Baltimore in Maryland, where he became vice principal in 1909. Dr. Holmes also taught at the Miner Normal School in Washington D.C.
Dr. Holmes then transitioned to higher education. In 1918, he became a professor of education and registrar at Howard University – increasing enrollment by 1,000 students in a ten-year span at the university’s college of education. He was later appointed dean of Howard’s College of Education, distinguishing himself as a university administrator.
In 1934, Dr. Holmes wrote The Evolution of the Negro College, a book focusing on the evolution of the Negro Colleges (what’s now referred to as HBCUs), and the resources that these institutions should provide to the African-American population in the Southern states of the U.S. post-Civil War.
In 1937, Dr. Holmes became the 6th president of Morgan State University, and the school’s first Black president.
Under Dr. Holmes’ leadership, Morgan’s faculty increased from thirty to eighty-five members (from four to twenty-five holding the Ph.Ds), the total annual salary of all faculty members increased from $33,728 to $512,000, working conditions improved with the first benefit programs to include sabbatical leave; pension, and retirement benefits, and an academic ranking system, and the student body grew from 752 to 1,595 students. Lastly, the value of the physical property jumped from roughly $860K to $3.3 million.
Dr. Holmes was a member on many boards and commissions, including the National Advisory Committee on Negro Education under the United States Office of Education, the Advisory Board of the Educational Outlook among Negroes; and the Editorial Board of the Journal of Negro Education.
Dwight O. W. Holmes, a member of the Black Educator Hall of Fame.
For more information on Dwight O. W. Holmes, visit the following site.