Examination of African-American History

Dr. Howard Burrell

Dr. Howard Burrell of Felican College was the keynote speaker at a special lecture delivered at the college in celebration of African-American History Month. Dr. Burrell's remarks focused on the Three-Fifths Compromise as a factor in our United States Constitution.

"I believe that our founding fathers were troubled by what came to be known as the 'Three-Fifths Compromise, which basically stated that people of color were only three-fifths human," said Dr. Burrell. "I believe they were fully aware that they planted a racial time bomb."

Dr. Burrell cited key time periods and events in our nation's history that were the result of that "time bomb" exploding before it had a chance to diffuse, including the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s that were "a turbulent and often dangerous time."

"The tragedies that occurred during those years were a heavy price for people to have paid," Dr. Burrell said. "But in many cases, those sacrifices were the right and necessary thing to do to remove years of the cancerous and negative residue left behind by the Three-Fifths Compromise.

"It took 81 years for that language [of the Three-Fifths Compromise] to be removed from our Constitution and although that "toxic residue still remains today, sometimes below the surface, it does not rob me of the hope I feel for our nation," he concluded.

Dr. Burrell was raised in the small southern town of Utica, Mississippi, when our nation was going through the turbulent Civil Rights movement and during the US involvement with Vietnam. He attended Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. While in college, he was a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and upon graduation he was commissioned as second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. His military career included management in Drug and Alcohol Abuse and Human Relations education in Air Force bases in the United States and Turkey and includes several diplomas, certificates and credentials from the U.S. Air Force Command and Staff College and the Air Force Air University. He retired from the Air Force with the rank of Major.

Previous to Dr.Burrell’s joining Felician College, his work career included upper level management positions in various corporations and as an Assistant Director in the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. He has served as an adjunct professor and trustee of Centenary College, as the Gates-Ferry lecturer there, and as a member of the Board of Directors for the Sussex County Board of Chose Freeholders.

Dr. Burrell previously delivered remarks on this topic as the Gates Ferry Lecturer at Centenary College. In addition to Dr. Burrell’s degree from Tennessee State University, he holds a Master Degree from Wayne State University and a Doctor of Psychology from California Coast University.