Alexander Twilight was the first African American to receive a college degree. Although he is said to have been born free, he became an indentured servant on a nearby farm in his hometown of Bradford,Vermont from the age of eight until the age of twenty-one. During his last year of servitude, he enrolled in Middlebury College where, two years later, he earned his bachelor’s degree. Later in 1863 he made history again by becoming the first African American to be elected to a public office.
George Carruthers is best known for his various inventions and hard work for studies of space. Dr. Carruthers earned a patent for his invention called “Image Converter for Detecting Electromagnetic Radiation Especially in Short Wave Lengths,” in 1969. He went on to create even more inventions that would benefit NASA. His inventions wound up being used for the first lunar walk in the Apollo 16 mission, offered the first amount of proof that molecular hydrogen exists in interstellar space, shot ultraviolet images of Haley’s Comet, and more.
Alfred Cralle, a Virginia native, is best known for his invention, the ice cream scooper, after noticing how hard it was to dispense while working at a drug store. He was also the first African American man in Pennsylvania to receive a patent for his invention.
Mr. Bouchet was the first Black man to graduate from Yale University in 1874 with a Ph. D. in the United States. He graduated with a degree in Physics, ranking number 6 in his class out of 124 students. While also at Yale, he became the first African American to be nominated to Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.