Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

(Nearly) Wordless Thursday: James Warren Payton, Yale Class of 1900

December 30th, 2009 by Ajuan Mance


James Warren Payton, in his graduation photo, taken in 1900. In 1902 Payton died of typhoid fever. This photo was published in the December 1902 issue of The Colored American magazine.

Payton was memorialized in the June 1903 Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale University. The obituary record provided this short biography of the young man who had become one of the University’s first African American alumni:

JAMES WARREN PAYTON, son of Philip A. and Annie (Rives)
Payton, was born on July 30, 1877, in Westfield, Mass., and was
fitted for college in the High School in that place.
The year following graduation he spent in tutoring in Westfield,
and in the fall of 1901 became Professor of Greek and
Latin in Wiley University, Marshall, Texas. He was about to
return to his work for a second year when he was stricken with
typhoid fever, of which he died at his home in Westfield, on
October 15, 1902, at the age of 25 years. He had planned to
enter the legal profession eventually.

Posted by Ajuan Mance

Posted in African American Students, African Americans, Black History, Higher Education, race, Yale

One Response

  1. 2Serenity

    Wow. I never knew his story.

    It makes me wonder if the black alumni and those currently matriculating through the school know of him.

    Also, I was not aware of the Colored American magazine. I thought that Ebony set the precedent but I see there were other trailblazers that I need to acknowledge too.

    I found more information about the Colored Magazine here:

    Colored American Magazine. Vol. 1-17, 1900-1909. Boston, Mass. and New York.