Lucy Stanton Day Sessions (1831-1912) became the first black American to graduate from a four-year college when she received a Literary Degree from Oberlin in 1850.
Fanny Jackson Coppin (1837-1913) received an A.B. degree from Oberlin in 1865. She taught in the Female Department at the Institute for Colored Youth in Philadelphia.
Mary Jane Patterson (1840- 1894), A.B. Oberlin 1862. Patterson was the first African-American woman to receive an A.B. degree in the United States. She was a pioneer in black education and paved the way for other female African-American educators.
The black and white Oberlin Rescuers at the Cuyahoga County jail, Cleveland, Ohio, April 1859. These men rescued John Price, a runaway slave living in Oberlin, from slave catchers in Wellington, Ohio on September 13, 1858.
Anna Julia Haywood Cooper (1858-1964), A.B. Oberlin 1884, was an author, educator, and social reformer.
Ida A. Gibbs Hunt (1862-1957), A.B. Oberlin 1884, was an educator who promoted black education, civil rights, and women’s suffrage.
Mary E. Church Terrell (1863-1954), A.B. Oberlin 1884, was an educator and reformer in women’s organizations.
Dr. William Grant Still (1895-1978), enrolled in the Oberlin Conservatory from 1916-19, is pictured here in 1954. Still received an honorary Doctorate of Music Degree from Oberlin in 1947. He was the first African-American in the United States to have a symphony performed by a major symphony orchestra.
Jewel S. LaFontant-MANkarious (1922-1997), A.B. Oberlin 1943, '79 hon., trustee 1981-86. She was the first African American woman to serve as assistant U.S. attorney and the first African American woman to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Carl T. Rowan (1925-2000), A.B. Oberlin 1947. Rowan was a journalist and author. He was the first African American to hold a seat on the U.S. National Security Council.
Frances Walker-Slocum, A.B. Oberlin 1945, was the first African American woman to serve as a full professor in the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, 1975-91. In 2004, she was awarded the Alumni Medal from Oberlin College.
Albert J. McQueen, A.B. Oberlin 1952, served as a member of the faculty of the Oberlin College Sociology Department from 1966 to 1995.
Eduardo Mondlane (1920-1969), A.B. Oberlin 1953. Mondlane was an educator, nationalist, and leader of the Mozambique Independence Movement (FRELIMO).
Sylvia L. Hill Williams (1936-1996), A.B. Oberlin 1957, was the first woman to hold the position of Director of the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C. She served as a member of the Allen Memorial Art Museum Visiting Committee (1989-96), and a member of the Board of Trustees, Oberlin College (1990-96).
Dr. Wade Ellis served as the first black faculty member at Oberlin College.
Members of the Oberlin Black Ensemble, ca. 1976.