Black History

#BlackHistoryFact for January 10: George Boyer Vashon makes history in New York

George Boyer Vashon, who is known for being the first black person to receive a Bashelor’s degree from Oberlin College, became the first black lawyer in the state of New York. He studied law under Judge Walter Forward, who was well-known in Pittsburgh politics. After two years of studying law, he applied for the Allegheny County Bar, but his application was denied because “colored people were not citizens”. It was this decision that brought on the thought for Vachon to move to Haiti. Before he made such a move, he took a trip to New York to take the bar examination. He successfully passed the exam, which would make him the first black lawyer in New York.

Vachon left for Haiti in 1849. He returned to the United States in 1850, moving to Syracuse, New York where he practiced law. He worked as a professor of belle-lettres and math at New York Central College in McGrawville. He got married and had seven children. He taught at Howard University, becoming the university’s first black professor. He contributed to the establishment of Howard’s Law school.

Source: George B. Vashon – Black Past.Org

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