19th Century


Rebecca Lee Crumpler graduates from the New England Female Medical College, which in 1873 becomes a major component of the newly established Boston University School of Medicine.


Claflin University is founded with the purpose of educating emancipated slaves. The land in South Carolina is purchased with funds donated by one of the three founders of Boston University, Lee Claflin, and his son William Claflin. The oldest Historically Black College or University (HBCU) in South Carolina, Claflin’s charter forbids discrimination of any sort among faculty, staff and students. This establishes Claflin as the first university in South Carolina to be open to all students regardless of race, class, or gender.


A key statement in The President’s and Deans’ Second Annual Report shows the intent to move past the exclusionary educational practices of the time: “All indications show that the time is at hand, when every Christian country will demand that its highest and best educational appliances, organized in its universities, be made available to all comers, without respect to creed or race or sex…”


Emmanuel Hewlett, known to be Frederick Douglass’s brother-in-law, becomes the first black Boston University School of Law graduate and one of the first black degree recipients of a major U.S. law school. Upon his death, in 1929, the Supreme Court adjourns for the day, an honor reserved for the most respected members of the bar.


America’s first black psychiatrist, Solomon Carter Fuller, graduates from the School of Medicine.


Bishop Edgar Amos Love ( STH’18), creates a Gamma Chapter of Omega Psi Phi at Boston University. Five years earlier, he was a founding father of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity at Howard University. This was the first international fraternal organization to be founded on the campus of a historically black college.

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