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John Newton Templeton
*The birth of John Newton Templeton is celebrated on this date in 1805. He was a Black teacher and principal.
He was born on a cotton plantation in rural South Carolina, owned by Colonel John Means. At the age of eight, Templeton, along with his family, was freed by the will of his owner in 1813. At this time, he and his family moved, eventually residing in Adams County, Ohio.
With the assistance of the president of Ohio University at that time, Reverend Robert G. Wilson, Templeton applied and enrolled in 1824. While working through college, he maintained a superior academic record and was an especially active member of the Athenian Literary Society. Four years later, John Newton Templeton earned his bachelor's degree, becoming the first black graduate from Ohio University and the fourth black to graduate from a university in the United States.
Templeton sustained a special academic rank throughout his college career and was actively involved in the Athenian Literacy Society. After completing his time at Ohio University in 1828, Templeton went on to become one of the officers of the Chillicothe Colored Anti-Slavery Society. On a national scale, Templeton is the fourth Black college graduate, preceded by Edward A. Jones (Amherst College, 1826), John B. Russwurm (Bowdoin College, 1826), and Edward A. Mitchell (Dartmouth College, 1828).
He became co-editor of a local African American newspaper formerly known as The Mystery. He was also the first teacher and principal of the first school designated for black children in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Templeton's legacy lives on at Ohio University. Along with a scholarship fund for multicultural students in his honor, John Newton Templeton has also had the acclaimed Alumni Gate constructed to represent the impact of his presence at the school.
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