The history of African Americans has been intertwined with Brown University since its inception at its Providence site. Lopez and Rivera, a slave trading firm in Newport, donated wood for the construction of University Hall, then known as the College Edifice. In addition, at least four slaves helped build University Hall.
Brown has evolved since that time. In 1877, Inman Page and George Washington Milford became the first known* African Americans to graduate from Brown. In 1891, the Women's College was founded at Brown. Ethel (1905) and Cora (1909) Robinson, local African American women, were among its early graduates.
For more information about the history of African Americans at Brown, including 20th century battles for greater black enrollment, visit the Encyclopedia Brunoniana.
*A few African Americans attended Brown during the mid-nineteenth century for a year or two but did not graduate. Using the word "known" also recognizes the fact that people of African descent may have graduated from the university earlier but did not appear to be or were not identified as black.