Looking at the hands of time, racial discrimination exists in the world because of other people\’s ignorance partly because of uninformed instruction ingrained in our families, state, and economic systems. Over many decades, after the development of the first higher education institutions in the new world in 1636, no African American has been able to obtain a degree of any kind or sort from an American university or college. Until then, in the revolutionary war, black Americans were considered to be morally inferior and underserving in higher education. Also, Thomas Jefferson\’s profound competence could never be seen through the racist beliefs of those times. Jefferson states in his book
Notes on the State of Virginia, “in reason much inferior, as I think one [black] could scarcely be found capable of tracing and comprehending the investigations of Euclid; and that in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous” (Albert E. Bergh, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, 1781). Regarding the widely held belief that African Americans were intellectually incapable of learning higher education, a small percentage of African Americans managed to get into universities. Conflicting arguments have been made as to who was the first black American graduate at a predominately white institution (PWI). In recent history, Edward Jones was the son of a free black business man who ran a hotel in South Carolina. Jones himself became the first African American to be entered and graduate with a degree from Amherst University in 1822 to 1826. Several others, such as Alexander Lucius Twilight, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College in 1823. Furthermore, these pioneers may have preceded many light-skinned African Americans who kept their identity a secret. In later years light-skinned \”colored\” students who have surreptitiously graduated from all white segregated schools. In fact, Anita Hemmings was the first black woman to graduate from Vassar College in 1897 which at that time did not admit black students.
Once she proclaimed her race after graduation, the college administration displayed outrage at the fraud, but did not concede her degree. Over the last decades of the nineteenth century, the majority of African Americans who enrolled in higher education entered these segregated schools. But a few really talented black students were able to gain admission to some of the state’s most prestigious universities. W.E.B. Du Bois stated that between 1865 and 1900, 390 blacks earned diplomas from white colleges and universities.