An Imposing Honor for Harvard’s First Black Graduate

With the unveiling yesterday on its central campus of a nine-foot statue of lawyer, educator, and diplomat Richard T. Greener, the University of South Carolina acknowledged a notable individual and a significant moment in its own history: the Reconstruction era, when it became one of the only Southern state universities to admit, and grant degrees to, African-American students. Greener himself benefited from that opportunity. While teaching courses there in philosophy, Latin, and Greek as the institution’s first African-American professor, Harvard College’s first black graduate also studied law, earning his degree in 1876, a year before a new state administration barred black students from the school.

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