Richard T. Greener Memorial


Richard T. Greener was the first African-American professor at the University of South Carolina, serving during the Reconstruction Era, from 1873 through 1877. The University of South Carolina has placed a statue in his honor next to the Thomas Cooper Library.

About Richard T. Greener

Greener was the first African-American graduate of Harvard University. In addition to teaching philosophy, Latin, and Greek at USC, Greener served as librarian and helped to reorganize and catalog the library's holdings, which were in disarray after the Civil War. Greener was the only black professor at a southern university during Reconstruction and it would be decades beforeanother black professor would be appointed at USC. While a faculty member at South Carolina, he also attended the School of Law. His law degree and law license were found in Chicago and later obtained by USC. After leaving South Carolina, Greener served as dean of the Howard University School of Law, as a diplomat for the United States in Vladivostok, Russia, as secretary of the Grant Memorial, and he worked in private law practice. Greener was born Jan. 30, 1844 and died in 1922.

Greener Scupture

The Greener Sculpture

Sculptor Jon Hair was commissioned to create the sculpture of Richard T. Greener after winning a juried competition in 2013. Hair's design was approved by the USC Board of Trustees Design Review Committee and then the Buildings and Grounds Committee.

The university will unveil the completed sculpture on Feb. 21 as part of the inaugural Richard T. Greener Symposium. The event, which includes remarks from Congressman James E. Clyburn, will take place at 4 p.m. in the Russell House Ballroom and will conclude outside near Thomas Cooper Library with the unveiling of the statue at 5 p.m. It is free and open to the public. For more information about Greener and the symposium, read about it online.

How to Give

Your donation will help the University erect this sculpture at the Thomas Cooper Library.

Donate Online to the Richard T. Greener Statue Fund

If you would prefer to mail a donation, please send it to:

Richard T. Greener Memorial Fund
USC Office of Gift Records
1027 Barnwell Street
Columbia, SC 29208

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Christian Anderson
Associate Professor of Higher Education

Lydia Brandt
Associate Professor of Art History

Katherine E. Chaddock
Distinguished Professor Emerita of Higher Education