First African American to Receive a Ph.D. From Harvard University

W.E.B. Du Bois

In 1895, history was made when a man named William Edward Burghardt Du Bois became the first African American man to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University. This amazing accomplishment went on to open the door for hundreds of future Black American students and even led to a series of lectures, aptly named The W. E. B. Du Bois Lectures.

Not only was Du Bois the first to achieve this step, but he's also recognized as the first to receive an A.M degree, according to the Harvard Library. Du Bois is recognized for being an American historian, sociologist, and civil rights activist. According to the Harvard Library, "after receiving a bachelor's degree from Fisk University in 1888, Du Bois entered Harvard College as a junior and received his second bachelor's degree in 1890."

The previously stated lectures were "named to honor W. E. B. Du Bois as one of the most influential intellectuals, scholars, public figures, and writers of 20th-century America," according to Harvard University Press. This series has proudly given recognition to "persons of outstanding achievement who have contributed to our better understanding of African American life, history, and culture."