Richard T. Greener
Professor and lawyer
Richard T. Greener (1844-1922) was the first African American graduate of Harvard College. In 1873, during the Reconstruction Era, he became the first African American professor at the University of South Carolina where he also served as the University Librarian. While serving on the faculty, Greener studied law and earned his law degree from USC. When the Reconstruction period came to an end, Greener was dismissed from his position in 1877. He went on to serve as dean of the Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C. In 1898, Greener became the first African American diplomat to represent the United States in Russia. When he returned to the United States, he settled in Chicago, where he practiced law, gave lectures and worked as an insurance agent.