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Kim Janssen

“I Had To Get Their Attention”: Race, Class, and Intellectual History on Chicago’s South Side

Sometime in 2009, “clean out crew” contractor Rufus McDonald found, in the attic of an abandoned house on Chicago’s South Side scheduled for demolition, a cache of documents that belonged to Harvard University’s first black graduate, Richard T. Greener. The papers, originally in a “steamer trunk” that didn’t survive the demolition, included his “1870 Harvard diploma — water-damaged but intact — his law license, photos and papers connected to his diplomatic role in Russia and his friendship with President Ulysses S. Grant.” The cache also included a book, Autographs for Freedom (1853).[1] As knowledge of the discovery spread from Chicago Read more