1834: Runaway Slave Attends Yale Divinity School

James W.C. Pennington, who was illiterate when he fled slavery in Maryland in 1827 at age 19, is permitted to audit classes at Yale Divinity School, the first black student at Yale. He must sit in the back of the room and is not allowed to ask or answer questions or to use the library. He later leads the Talcott Street Congregational Church (now Faith Congregational Church) in Hartford and becomes a prominent abolitionist, serving as a delegate at the Second World Congress on Slavery in London. After returning from England, where he was invited to preach at a number of churches, he presses to be included in pulpit exchanges in Connecticut, and is the first black minister to preach at a number of Connecticut churches.
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