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Greener was the first African American professor at the University of South Carolina, appointed to the professorship of mental and moral philosophy In October 1873. He was also the first African American graduate of Harvard University in 1870. At the University of South Carolina, in addition to philosophy, Greener taught constitutional law, Greek, and Latin. In 1875 he became the first African American to be elected a member of the American Philological Association. While at the University, Greener also oversaw the library, with its collection of rare books, and earned a law degree from the University’s law school in 1876. In 1877 the school was closed and reopened in 1880 as an all-white institution; it was only reintegrated in 1963. In 1887 Greener took a position as a professor at Howard University Law School and later served as dean. After Howard, among other things, Greener became the first US Consulate to Vladivostok, Russia, and played an important role in both the Boxer War and Russo-Japanese War.
For the curious, here is a video introduction to Greener, excerpted from a presentation courtesy of the University of South Carolina Library, under a creative commons license and here is a biography of Greener.