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Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington

June 24, 1896: Booker T. Washington, president of Tuskegee Institute, becomes the first African American to be awarded an honorary degree by Harvard University. Born into slavery in Virginia, Washington moved to Alabama in 1881 to open Tuskegee Normal School. He soon gained fame as an educational leader among black Americans, a fact which Harvard recognized with a Master of Arts degree.

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