Posted: February 9, 2011 by Jay Rasean in Kasual
Alexander Lucius Twilight
September 26, 1795 – June 19, 1857

Despite is his light complexion, Alexander Twilight was indeed an African-American. Twilight is credited as the first African-American male to receive a bachelors degree from an American college, Middlebury College, to be precise. Although, it wasn’t until a man named Edward Jones received a bachelors degree from Amherst College, that the knowledge of Twilight actually being the first, came to the surface. A black man with a Bachelors degree has been hard to come by over the years ( I am currently working on mine ). There is an overwhelming sense of joy to discover that a man of color, received a bachelors degree all the way back in 1823.
Unlike many people, Twilight’s degree was not just for show, he continued to pursue careers where his accredited education was quite useful. Twilight was an educator; teaching in various states throughout the northeast, while also pursuing a career in religion–at this time religion was closely tied with education. Twilight designed–as well raised funds to build the first granite public building in Vermont, Athenian Hall. Athenian Hall was a dormitory for out of town students to reside during the school year. Then In 1836, Twilight was credited for yet another first, when he was elected to the Vermont General Assembly, marking him as the first African-American male to be elected to a state legislature!

When writing this article, I couldn’t help but take notice of Twilight’s fair complexion, and wonder if it played a major role in Twilight’s achievements. His parents were both of mixed race, consisting of white ancestry–explaining why Twilight was so light. Then I remembered what my mother always told me “1 percent of black blood in you, you’re black“. Remembering this quote quashed my notions of significant African-American advancement due to skin complexion, even though its most likely a factor. Twilight is a black man and a quite prominent one at that. A man of firsts in education and in politics, Twilight is yet another reason why black history should be celebrated year ’round.(K*W)


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