“The admission to Harvard College depends upon examinations; and if this boy passes the examinations, he will be admitted; and if the white students choose to withdraw, all the income of the college will be devoted to his education.”
-Edward Everett, on admission of the first black student to Harvard University,1847.
Edward Everett (1794-1865) was an American politician and orator, who served as a US Congressman, US Senator, Governor of Massachusetts, US Secretary of State, and as President of Harvard University. On 19 November 1863 he was the main speaker at Gettysburg, whose two-hour oration has been eclipsed in history by President Abraham Lincoln’s's brief Gettysburg Address. Everett wrote to Lincoln the following day “I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I cam as near the central idea of the occasion in two hours, as you did in two minutes.”
The words spoken on the admission of the first black student to Harvard University were in respect of Beverly Williams, who had been in the same preparatory school as Everett’s son. Williams died of tuberculosis before his 18th birthday and never took his place at Harvard. The first black pupil to study at Harvard was Richard Greener (1844-1922) in 1865. Greener graduated in 1870.