Home > Uncategorized > February 9 – Lucy Ann Stanton

February 9 – Lucy Ann Stanton

In yesterday’s issue we introduced Alexander Twilight, the first African American to receive a Bachelor’s degree in the US.  Many of you quickly asked, “Then who was the first African American female to receive this distinction?” So… who was it?

Lucy Ann Stanton became the first African American female to complete and receive her college degree when she graduated in 1850 from Oberlin College in Ohio with a Literary Degree. Though her accomplishment came a full 27 years after Twilight’s, the span of time is quite small when you take into consideration the fact that the first American institution for higher learning was established in 1636, and nearly 200 years passed before colleges finally started admitting and graduating black students.

Born free on October 16, 1831, Lucy was raised by her parents Samuel and Margaret Stanton in Cleveland, Ohio. Her mother later remarried to John Brown, and it was at her stepfather’s school that Lucy received her early education. She was admitted to Oberlin in the mid-1840’s, and while studying there, she became the president of the Oberlin Ladies Literary Society.  She even delivered the graduation speech, an anti-slavery piece which she entitled “A Plea for the Oppressed.”

After graduating, Lucy became a teacher but also committed herself to the cause of freeing slaves and aiding them as freedmen. In 1854, she wrote a short story on slavery which her husband then published in his newspaper Aliened American.  This marked the first time a black female had published a work of fiction.

Stanton died on February 18, 1910 in Los Angeles, California.

thanks for reading,

francis

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