Will Harvard Also Address Its Legacy of Sex Discrimination?
Harvard's Media Office could not identify the first female graduate of Harvard College.
Ed. Note: Harvard’s media office referred me to the Harvard University Archives, which on 5/3/22 stated that it cannot identify the first female who received a Harvard College diploma. The spokesperson said the female members of the Harvard Class of 2000 were the first female graduates to receive a diploma not signed by the Radcliffe president. But the spokesperson said there were too many graduates to identify the first female to receive a Harvard diploma.
Harvard’s governing corporation has decided to start redressing the wrongs of its four centuries of ties to slavery.
Harvard has committed $100 million to trace the modern-day descendants of enslaved people, build memorials and curriculum to honor and expose the past. It also will create exchange programs with historically black universities and tribal colleges.
But African Americans are not the only group that experienced severe and longstanding discrimination from Harvard, which was founded in 1636.
Harvard refused to admit women for more than a hundred years after the first black male graduated from Harvard College. (The first African-American graduate of Harvard College was Richard Theodore Greener (1844-1922), who graduated in 1870 and went on to become the dean of Howard University School of Law.)
Harvard’s media office could not provide the date when Harvard College began accepting female undergraduates.
It is surprisingly difficult to ascertain when Harvard College admitted women. There is a vague historical references that Harvard Yard was opened to female residents in 1972. Harvard Yard is where most freshman dormitories are located. But opening the yard is not the same as admitting female undergraduates.
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