William Crogman, Clark University icon
William H. Crogman
*The birth of Professor William H. Crogman in 1841 is celebrated on this date. He was an African American educator.
Born in the West Indies in 1841, he was orphaned at twelve years of age. For ten years he followed the sea. Then, encouraged by a shipmate, he entered school in Massachusetts. He passed every one of the hundreds of students in learning, accuracy, and scholarship. He accomplished as much in one quarter as the average student did in two, mastering both mathematical and linguistic requirements.
In 1870, Crogman became a teacher in Claflin University, the first Black to be regularly employed by the Freedmen's Aid Society in education. He stopped teaching long enough to take a full course at Atlanta University and in 1876 he joined the faculty of what is now Clark University. For seven years he served as president of Clark where the school grew both in numbers and strength. He was the first secretary of the Boards of Trustees of Gammon Theological Seminary and of Clark University. For twenty-nine years he was superintendent of the Sunday school at Clark, and had the reputation of never being late during that period.
Three times he was a delegate to the General Conference, and he was the first individual to receive the degree of Doctor of Letters from Atlanta University. He is the author of several books and spoke by special invitation from the pulpit of Henry Ward Beecher's church. At the time of the Atlanta race riots, when it was falsely rumored that Clark University had harbored Negro criminals, one of the leading Atlanta papers published a strong editorial in defense of Dr. Crogman, then president of the school, and declared: "This rumor is entirely and absolutely undeserved."
At the 1921 commencement, Dr. Crogman retired from active teaching. The Carnegie Foundation granted him a pension for life. William H. Crogman died in1931.
The African American Desk Reference
Schomburg Center for research in Black Culture
Copyright 1999 The Stonesong Press Inc. and
The New York Public Library, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Pub.