Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

Flashback Friday (Way, Way Back): John B. Vashon on Oberlin College, 1840

August 14th, 2009 by Ajuan Mance


In 1844, Vashon’s son, George Boyer Vashon (above), would become the first African American to graduate from Oberlin College, as well as the college’s first Black valedictorian.


“I have just returned from that noble institution, in Lorain County, Ohio, Oberlin College, where I left my son. I have no doubt but that it is the purest Christian College on the Unites States. The number of students last year was 404: 12 young gentlemen and 3 young ladies of the number are colored, yet I saw none of that low, poor, mean, black prejudice there. The Faculty there judge men by their moral worth, not by their color. I take pleasure in sending you a catalogue of the college…”

— From The Colored American newspaper, April 4, 1840

Posted in African American Students, African Americans, Black History, Black Students, Oberlin College

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