Richard Greener, the First Black Student to Graduate from Harvard

Richard Greener

Established in 1636, Harvard Law School is an Ivy League university that prides itself on accepting only the top scholars who apply to it.  However, its exclusivity didn't come without a measure of discrimination, as it wasn't until 1870 that a man by the name of Richard Greener became the first black graduate of Harvard College. 

Greener worked especially hard to reach that goal, as he's mentioned on to have "developed a knack for meeting prominent Americans and for showing up on the field of racial action," therefore gaining the help of two of his employers who, according to Black Then, supported him "through the preparatory school at Oberlin College in Ohio from 1862 to 1864 and Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, from 1864 to 1865."

After becoming a gifted scholar, his career grew through every passing year, illustrated by the fact that in the "1896 presidential election, Greener served as the head of the “colored men’s bureau” of the Republican National Committee in Chicago." Greener continued breaking barriers and paving the way for younger black generations of men and women who hoped to gain an education just like he did.