Is It Any Better For Black Harvard Students Than In His Day?

June 11, 2019

In 1870, Richard T. Greener became the first Black student to graduate from Harvard College. 

His later success as a professor and foreign diplomat helped create a path for other deserving students to follow. Yet Black Harvard students today say they didn’t expect the hostility they still experience at every turn. 

Black students fight hard for cultural, social, and scholastic inclusivity on campus. 

They’re so tired of the racist pranks, stereotypical comments in class, and institutionalized insensitivity stemming from a lack of racially-diverse leadership.

Viral campaigns like ”#ITooAmHarvard” broadcast the concerning ways Harvard needs to do better by hiring more faculty of color, introducing more curricula that explore the work of scholars within the African Diaspora, and providing counseling services that help students process their experiences with race relations on campus and in the world they seek to change. 

Fighting the status quo sure as hell isn’t easy. 

Just look at what happened to former Harvard Law professor Derrick Bell, who lost his tenured position for protesting the school’s failure to hire any Black women as full-time faculty members.

While Harvard pats itself on the back for admitting more Black students than back in Greener’s day, accountability remains with the current administration to ensure these same students are supported mentally, emotionally, and socially in tandem with their academic pursuits. 

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