The University of South Carolina will unveils a new statue Wednesday honoring the accomplishments of its first African-American faculty member.
Richard T. Greener was hired by the school just three years after graduating from Harvard University in 1870. “He was important to the history of higher education,” USC Associate Higher Education Professor Dr. Christian Anderson said. South Carolina was the only public university in the South to desegregate immediately after the Civil War. It was the only one to hire an African-American professor during Reconstruction (1865-1877).
“That alone is significant, but he also came to make enormous contributions to the University,” Anderson said.
The 4 p.m. unveiling Wednesday will be outside the school’s Thomas Cooper Library.
Greener taught moral and mental philosophy, Latin and Greek. He also advocated for student access and lobbied the legislature for 124 African-American student scholarships. “He realized these students have not had the educational opportunities to be prepared for university life, so he created and taught a sub-freshman class, a preparatory year of schooling, so that they would be ready for their freshman year,” Anderson said.
After his first year with the University, Greener assumed the duties of librarian after his predecessor resigned. [Read more…]