Alexander Twilight: First African American To Earn A Bachelor’s Degree From American University



Alexander Lucius Twilight was an American pastor, teacher, and politician who devoted his life to serving as a Congregational preacher. Throughout his career, he devotedly served in the ministry and in the fields of education. Twilight was born on September 23, 1795, in Corinth, Vermont, and was raised along with his six siblings by his parents, Ichabod and Mary Twilight.

The Twilight family was one of the area’s few African-American residents. Ichabod Twilight participated in the American Revolutionary War at the period, according to information on the Old Stone House Museum’s website.

Early on, Alexander Twilight developed the habit of working on a local farm, where he also picked up some rudimentary reading, writing, and arithmetic skills. Twilight began his formal education at Middlebury College in 1815, when he was 20 years old and about 20 miles from Randolph. He created history by being the first African-American to graduate from and obtain a degree from an American college after persevering for two years.

Twilight received a fantastic chance after earning his degree and began working as a teacher in Peru, New York, a small town in the state’s northeast. He remained in that position for a considerable amount of time while also getting married to Mercy Ladd Merrill to have a joyful family. He had the desire to study his faith and obtained the necessary certificates to begin and practice as a preacher in addition to having a preference for professional education.

He eventually returned to his homeland and attended to the congregations in Vergennes and Brownington after taking some time away from his personal life. He was given the chance to lead the Orleans County Grammar School in Brownington in 1829, and he also assisted in the construction of the school’s new granite facilities. The new school’s dormitories and classrooms were housed there.

Moonlight, a pioneer in Vermont politics, made history once more by being the first African-American to win elections and hold public office. Up until the late 1840s, he kept up his prestigious job as a preacher and educator. But regrettably, he had disagreements with the church and the school, which forced him to quit from both roles. Eventually, he returned to the school, but his health was failing, and on June 19, 1857, in Brownington, he passed away.


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