Richard T. Greener Quadrangle, 2018, at Phillips Academy
Backstory and Context
Richard Theodore Greener was born in 1844 in Philadelphia. After graduating from Phillips Academy in 1865, in 1870 he was the first African American to graduate from Harvard College. He was editor of the Mirror of the Philomathean Society, a student publication, while at Andover. Greener was an active and notable voice for the rights of black Americans in the Reconstruction period, serving as both dean of Howard University Law School and associate editor of Frederick Douglass’s newspaper, New National Era. He also held a key U.S. diplomatic post in Vladivostok, Russia, during the Russo-Japanese War. A deeply loyal alumnus, Greener referred to his time at Andover as “my awakening.”
Chaddock, Katherine Reynolds. Uncompromising Activist: Richard Greener, First Black Graduate of Harvard College. John Hopkins University Press, 2017.
Phillips Academy Archives and Special Collections