The First Black Students Admitted to 15 Prestigious U.S. Universities, and Their Stories Image via Harvard News

2. Beverly Garnett Williams

Year: 1847
School: Harvard

Protests broke out after Harvard admitted its first black student, Beverly Garnett Williams, in 1847. Students, faculty, and pro-slavery Southerners (apparently a large faction back then) rioted upon hearing the news. But the anger was all harbored in vain.

Williams died just before the academic year began, and thus never entered the college. Harvard wouldn't accept another black student for 23 years. School higher-ups surely didn't regret admitting Richard T. Greener in 1870. The first African-American to enter the college and complete the undergraduate curriculum went on to win the school's chief prizes in writing and speaking. Not too shabby for someone of any race.

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