1868: Passing for white, Patrick Francis Healy becomes the first black faculty member at one of the nation’s highest-ranked and predominantly white universities when he joins the Georgetown University faculty to teach philosophy.1869: George Lewis Ruffin is the first black to earn a degree from Harvard Law School.For most of American history, a majority of the black population in this country was prohibited from learning to read or write.Today African Americans are enrolling in higher education in record numbers.1837: James Mc Cune Smith is the first African American to earn a medical degree when he graduates from the University of Glasgow in Scotland. But Harvard later rescinds the invitations due to pressure from white students.1854: Ashmun Institute (now Lincoln University) is founded as the first institute of higher education for black men.1870: John Mercer Langston, who held a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Oberlin College, becomes the founding dean at Howard University Law School. 1870: By this time, approximately 22 historically black colleges and universities are enrolling students in the United States.1870: James Webster Smith is the first black student admitted to West Point, though he does not graduate. 1872: Charlotte Ray graduates from Howard University Law School in Washington, D.
It does not become a degree-granting institution until 1932. Vashon, who became one of the founding professors at Howard University. 1850: Harvard Medical School accepts its first three black students, one of whom was Martin Delany.She is considered the first African-American woman to earn a bachelor’s degree. Payne, a historian, educator, and minister, becomes the founder and first black president of Wilberforce University in Ohio.