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On Past African American History (Not In the Books), we discovered a fascinating post by Jay Jay Jenkins regarding Yale University’s decision to name a classroom after their first Black Student
Yale University to Name Classroom after 1st Black Student, James W.C. Pennington.
Divinity school graduate Lecia Allman led the effort to honor Pennington, who escaped slavery in Maryland in 1837. According to Allman, during that time, it was illegal in Connecticut to educate African-Americans from other states. Nevertheless, Pennington was allowed to attend classes; he just wasn’t allowed to speak, use the library, or earn a degree.
Pennington later became an abolitionist and formed an organization to provide an education to former Amistad captives.
Divinity School Dean Gregory Sterling says honoring Pennington “recovers part of our past that has been neglected.”