The University of South Carolina has recently acquired and placed on displayed the law school diploma of Richard Theodore Greener its first Black faculty member. In 2009 the document was discovered in a trunk in a Chicago home that was about to be demolished.
In 1870 Greener became the first African American graduate of Harvard University. He taught high school in Philadelphia and Washington before joining the faculty at the University of South Carolina, which for a brief period during Reconstruction admitted Black students. Greener also studied law at the university while teaching philosophy, Latin, and Greek.
After Blacks were purged from the University of South Carolina at the end of Reconstruction, Greener worked at the U.S. Treasury Department and taught at the Howard University School of Law.
Greener lived in Chicago in the later years of his life but the trunk where the documents were found was in a house six miles from where Greener lived.