The University of South Carolina unveiled a statue Wednesday of its first African-American professor.
A 9-foot-tall statue of Richard T. Greener stands next to the Thomas Cooper Library, where Greener worked, teaching philosophy, Latin, Greek and law on the Columbia campus.
The first African-American to graduate from Harvard University, Greener arrived at USC in 1873. That was during the post-Civil War Reconstruction period, when black South Carolinians were allowed to go to college for the first time.
Greener earned a degree from USC’s law school and was active in the state Republican Party until 1877, when Gov. Wade Hampton shut down the integrated college.
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Greener went on to become the dean of Howard University’s law school and held a diplomatic post in Russia.
“Every time he was asked, he called South Carolina home,” said U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-Columbia. “That was because of the experiences he had here and seeing how much the state had overcome.”
USC president Harris Pastides said Greener was “a trailblazer, risk-taker, a man of education and self-confidence, qualities we still look for in new professors and new students.”
The $125,000 statue was paid for with private donations.