First African-American Harvard college grads diploma up for auction

Courtesy WLS

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The original diploma of Harvard College's first African-American graduate, Richard T. Greener, will be offered at auction by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers on Wednesday.

Greener, a pioneer of social and racial equality in the racially divided South, graduated from Harvard College in 1870.

But his diploma made headlines in 2013, when the present owner of the original document threatened to burn it if he was not given a reasonable offer for it from the school. He found the diploma while cleaning out a home in Chicago.

Fortunately the owner decided to offer the document up at public auction instead of following through on his threat. Hindman expects the final sale price to be greater that the preliminary $10-$15,000 estimate.

The public will be able to view Greener's diploma through Tuesday at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in the 1300-block of West lake Street in Chicago. The sale will take place on site at noon on Wednesday.


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