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For many years, the distinction of being Yale University’s first Black student went to Edward Bouchet, an 1874 graduate. His portrait hung in the Yale library for over a century and the university named several fellowships and symposiums after him.

Bouchet was also the first African-American to earn a PhD (at Yale in 1876) and only the sixth American of any color to earn the advanced degree in Physics.

But this year, an archivist preparing antique papers for auction was surprised to find previously undiscovered records that indicated Richard Henry Green was actually Yale’s first Black student, graduating in 1857. Cortlandt Van Rensselaer Creed, another African-American student, also graduated from Yale School of Medicine that year.

Little Known Black History Fact: Yale University’s First Black Graduate  was originally published on

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