USC Unveils Statue of First African-American Professor
COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)- A piece of history now stands tall on the University of South Carolina’s campus. The first African-American professor at USC was honored Wednesday in a special unveiling.
The monumental moment has been 8 years in the making thanks to some former university students who say black history month was the perfect time to unveil the 9 foot tall statue of Richard T. Greener.
“It’s still surreal,” USC Graduate, Michael Jones said. “I had to go around and touch it.”
Greener served during Reconstruction from 1873-77. While at USC, Greener taught courses in philosophy, Latin, Greek, and law, as well as serving as a librarian. Greener was also Havard’s first black graduate.
His granddaughter, Evelyn Bausman, says she wishes that he was here to see his statue unveiled.
“Well I’m glad he had all this recognition because he didn’t get this much recognition when he was alive,” Bausman said.
This statue would not be possible if it wasn’t for three former USC students (Jones, Danny Bounds, and Samantha White) who turned a thought into action.
“A question was presented and an answer was giving today, during black history month,” Bounds said. “You couldn’t ask for a better present for this campus and for the state.”
For them and many others Greener’s statue will transcend this moment.
“At a time where just a few years ago there was a confederate flag hanging over this state, to now the state flagship having a monument for a brown person, and African American person, that’s what growth does,” USC Graduate Samantha Smith said. “That’s what it means to be dedicated.”
“It is important that the University now has come full circle in its recognition of those both enslaved hands that built the institution but also the contributions of brilliant individuals like Greener who came here to teach on facilities,” USC Department of Political Science Chair, Todd Shaw said.