Allen Howard was born in 1938 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Growing up in post-depression Wisconsin, he was exposed to the civil rights movement, which influenced his career path.

He earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and went right into graduate studies there the following year. He completed a master’s in history in 1962 with a certificate in African studies.

From 1963 to 1965, he taught African history at the University of Sierra Leone. Afterwards, he returned to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to complete his Ph.D.

Dr. Howard became a professor of African history at Livingston College in 1969, the college's inaugural year. He worked to develop curriculum in Africana studies and taught courses in African history. In the interviews, Dr. Howard explores the early years of Livingston College, the interdisciplinary nature of the curriculum, the student body and the faculty.

In his forty-plus years as a history professor at Rutgers, he specialized in African and Atlantic history, taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and published numerous works. He served on the executive committee of the Center for Africa Studies and chaired the center from 1999 to 2004. Dr. Howard is a Professor Emeritus of History.