Country’s first Black person to earn bachelor’s honored

Published: Sep. 20, 2020 at 10:12 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2020 at 11:42 PM EDT
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BROWNINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont is home to the first Black person to get a degree from an American college or university, and Sunday the state honored him.

Rep. Peter Welch presented the Congressional Record to the Old Stone House Museum in honor of Alexander Twilight.

“His legacy as an educator lives on through the museum, where his ideals are reflected in the museum’s educational programs," Welch said.

Twilight graduated from Middlebury College in 1823 with a bachelor of arts and is known as the first Black person in the country to earn a bachelor’s. Twilight was born in Bradford to a biracial father and a white mother. Due to Twilight’s heritage, it’s unknown if he identified as Black during his lifetime. Part of the ceremony was to recognize and honor his African ancestry

“We’ve called it the Alexander Twilight initiative, which the idea being to acknowledge his African American heritage but also to just let people know about him and his times. One of our main missions in education, and this is a way of educating people," said Old Stone House Museum Board of Trustees President Carmen Jackson.

In 1836, Twilight became the first Black American elected to the Vermont House of Representatives. He is remembered as the only African American ever elected to a state legislature before the civil war.

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