Yale was in for another surprise when they realized Moses Simons might actually be Yale’s very first Black graduate. Simons graduated from Yale in 1809, going on to law school and becoming a lawyer.
His race went previously unrecorded because he had already been named Yale’s first Jewish graduate. But in 1817, after a racially motivated insult, he was tried for assault and battery and referred to as a “Black lawyer.”
While research has concluded that each one of the students could hold the pioneering title, another name has arisen as a possibility – Randall Lee Gibson, class of 1853. Ancestry research revealed that Gibson’s grandfather was a man of color, though Gibson never acknowledged it. He became a general in the Confederate Army.
Little Known Black History Fact: Yale University’s First Black Graduate was originally published on blackamericaweb.com