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Wed, 04.28.1841

William Crogman, Educator born

William H. Crogman

*The birth of Professor William H. Crogman in 1841 is celebrated on this date. He was a Black educator.

Born in the West Indies in 1841, he was orphaned at twelve. For ten years, he followed the sea. Then, encouraged by a shipmate, he entered school in Massachusetts. He passed every one of the hundreds of students in learning, accuracy, and scholarship.  He accomplished as much in one quarter as the average student did in two, mastering both mathematical and linguistic requirements.

In 1870, Crogman became a teacher at Claflin University, the first Black to be regularly employed by the Freedmen's Aid Society in education. He stopped teaching long enough to take a full course at Atlanta University, and in 1876 he joined the faculty of what is now Clark University. For seven years, he served as president of Clark, where the school grew in numbers and strength.  He was the first secretary of the Boards of Trustees of Gammon Theological Seminary and Clark University.   He was superintendent of the Sunday school at Clark for twenty-nine years and had the reputation of never being late during that period.

He was a delegate to the General Conference three times, and he was the first to receive the degree of Doctor of Letters from Atlanta University. He is the author of several books and spoke by special invitation from the pulpit of Henry Ward Beecher's church.  At the time of the Atlanta race riots, when it was falsely rumored that Clark University had harbored Negro criminals, one of the leading Atlanta papers published a strong editorial in defense of Dr. Crogman, then president of the school, and declared: "This rumor is entirely and absolutely undeserved."

At the 1921 commencement, Dr. Crogman retired from active teaching. The Carnegie Foundation granted him a pension for life. William H. Crogman died in 1931.

To Become a Professor


The African American Desk Reference
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Copyright 1999 The Stonesong Press Inc. and
The New York Public Library, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Pub.
ISBN 0-471-23924-0

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