Grinnell College Honors Its First Black Graduate

Hannibal B. Kershaw originally enrolled at the University of South Carolina, the only flagship state university in the southern states that accepted black students during the Reconstruction period. But when his favorite professor left to take a teaching post at what was then Iowa College, Kershaw went with him. In 1879 Kershaw became the first black graduate of what is now Grinnell College.

After graduation he returned to South Carolina to start a teaching career. He fell into alcoholism and ill health and died only four years after his college graduation.

Last week Grinnell College renamed a residence hall on campus in honor of Kershaw.

Copyright © 2006. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.