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Distinguished Graduate

December 8, 2014

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Profile America — Monday, December 8th. Oberlin College in Ohio has a distinguished reputation among American institutions of higher learning. Its fame would be secure just for its leadership before the Civil War in coeducational instruction and in admitting black students. But Oberlin added to its luster on this date in 1850 when it awarded the nation's first four-year degree to an African-American woman, Lucy Stanton. She headed the school's Ladies Literary Society, and her anti-slavery commencement address -- titled "A Plea for the Oppressed" -- can be found on the Internet. There are around 44.5 million African-Americans in today's population and nearly 19 percent of those over the age of 25 have a bachelor's degree or higher. For women, that figure is over 21.5 percent. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at <>.

Kane's Famous First Facts, 3010
Stanton biography and commencement address
Black population and educational attainment
Female attainment

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | Last Revised: November 24, 2014