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Author Chaddock, Katherine Reynolds, 1945- author.

Title Uncompromising activist : Richard Greener, first black graduate of Harvard College / Katherine Reynolds Chaddock.

Publication Info. Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017.


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Description 1 online resource.
Series The Johns Hopkins University studies in historical and political science. 132nd series (2017) ; 2
Book collections on Project MUSE.
Summary "This book is a narrative biography of a subject who is intriguing in his own right, but is also exemplary of confounding perspectives on race and skin color then and now--probably more so now, with the enormous growth of a multiracial citizenry. 'Black' citizens always came in all shades. But they continue to be distinguished (by fellow blacks as well as whites) as 'yellow' or 'light skinned' or 'brown'--overly light or overly dark. The labels have consequences, and for Greener those were often sad, sometimes heartbreaking. Always too black or too white, he found it impossible to fulfill his promise as a truly effective leader and professional. Tragically, amid a precarious marital relationship, his light-skinned wife separated from him, changed her name to Greene, and passed for white. His three daughters and two sons followed suit. There is no evidence he saw any of them during the last 25 years of his life. When administrations changed, he was recalled from his diplomatic post by President Roosevelt, and he lived from 1906 until his death in 1922 with relatives in Chicago. His final years were not as the elder statesman for his race that he'd hoped to be, but as a silent, somewhat bitter, old man whose name would be largely forgotten"--Provided by publisher.
"Richard Theodore Greener (1844-1922) was a renowned black activist and scholar. In 1870, he was the first black graduate of Harvard College. During Reconstruction, he was the first black faculty member at a Southern white college, the University of South Carolina. He was even the first black US diplomat to a white country, serving in Vladivostok, Russia. A notable speaker and writer for racial equality, he also served as a dean of the Howard University School of Law and as the administrative head of the Ulysses S. Grant Monument Association. Yet he died in obscurity, his name barely remembered. His black friends and colleagues often looked askance at the light-skinned Greener's ease among whites and sometimes wrongfully accused him of trying to 'pass.' While he was overseas on a diplomatic mission, Greener's wife and five children stayed in New York City, changed their names, and vanished into white society. Greener never saw them again. At a time when Americans viewed themselves simply as either white or not, Greener lost not only his family but also his sense of clarity about race. Richard Greener's story demonstrates the human realities of racial politics throughout the fight for abolition, the struggle for equal rights, and the backslide into legal segregation. Katherine Reynolds Chaddock has written a long overdue narrative biography about a man, fascinating in his own right, who also exemplified America's discomfiting perspectives on race and skin color. Uncompromising Activist is a lively tale that will interest anyone curious about the human elements of the equal rights struggle"--Provided by publisher.
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index.
Contents Introduction: Man Without a Race -- Boyhood Interrupted -- Being Prepared -- Experiment at Harvard -- An Accidental Academic -- Professing in a Small and Angry Place -- The Brutal Retreat -- Unsettled Advocate -- A Violent Attack and Hopeless Case -- Monumental Plans -- Off White -- Our Man in Vladivostok -- Closure in Black and White -- Epilogue: The Passing of Richard Greener.
Note Print version record.
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Subject Greener, Richard Theodore, 1844-1922.
Harvard College (1780- ) -- Students -- Biography.
University of South Carolina -- Faculty -- Biography.
Howard University. School of Law -- Faculty -- Biography.
Greener, Richard Theodore, 1844-1922. (OCoLC)fst00258131
Harvard College (1780- ) (OCoLC)fst00652147
Howard University. School of Law. (OCoLC)fst00593512
University of South Carolina. (OCoLC)fst00532945
African Americans -- Biography.
African American political activists -- Biography.
African American scholars -- Biography.
African American diplomats -- Biography.
Passing (Identity) -- United States -- Case studies.
United States -- Race relations -- Case studies.
HISTORY / United States / General.
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Black Studies (Global).
African American diplomats. (OCoLC)fst00799137
African American political activists. (OCoLC)fst00799307
African American scholars. (OCoLC)fst00799344
African Americans. (OCoLC)fst00799558
Passing (Identity) (OCoLC)fst01054417
Race relations. (OCoLC)fst01086509
Students. (OCoLC)fst01136041
Universities and colleges -- Faculty. (OCoLC)fst01161748
United States. (OCoLC)fst01204155
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / International.
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General.
Genre/Form Biography. (OCoLC)fst01423686
Case studies. (OCoLC)fst01423765
Other Form: Print version: Reynolds, Katherine Chaddock, 1945- Uncompromising activist. Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017 9781421423296 (DLC) 2016052558 (OCoLC)983568517
ISBN 9781421423302 (electronic book)
1421423308 (electronic book)
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