On this day in 1850, Lucy Stanton became the first African American woman to receive a four-year degree in America.

Profile America — U.S Census Bureau

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2014 — 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.



Kane’s Famous First Facts, 3010

Stanton biography and commencement address: www.blackpast.org/aah/sessions-lucy-stanton-day-1831-1910

Black population and educational attainment:  www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2014/cb14-ff03.html

Female attainment: www.factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_13_1YR_B15002B&prodType=table


Profile America is produced by the Center for New Media and Promotions of the U.S. Census Bureau. These daily features are available as produced segments, ready to air, on the Internet at http://www.census.gov (look for “Multimedia Gallery” by the “Newsroom” button).

You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey, at www.census.gov.