Edward Mitchell, Class of 1828, was born on January 27, 1794 in Martinque, West Indies. Mr. Mitchell became affiliated with Dartmouth College by way of President Francis Brown (1815-1820). President Brown was ill in health and made a trip to the South, accompanied on return trip by Edward Mitchell, who remained with the Brown family after Francis Brown's death. Mr. Mitchell was received on equal terms with President Brown's children and applied for admission to the freshman class of 1824. After being examined by the faculty and passing honorable examinations, Edward Mitchell was approved by the faculty. The board of trustees feared that his presence would be unacceptable and refused to accept him. A student committee was formed and included members of all four classes present at Dartmouth at that time. A dark skinned Caucasian named C.D. Cleveland headed the committee. Cleveland made the arguement that if color excluded from the college that he himself would not be there. The Trustees reversed their decision and Edward Mitchell was recieved into Dartmouth College and became the first black graduate in 1828. He was eventually ordained a baptist minister. Edward Mitchell died on March 21, 1872.
(Ed. Note. This letter was written by Dartmouth students asking the trustees to admit Mitchell. Please see Ms. 824525. Click image for larger version.)