NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The Yale Board of Trustees has voted to confer two posthumous degrees to two Black theology students who attended Yale University in the 19th century, according to an announcement from Yale University President Peter Salovey.

During their time at Yale University, Reverend James W.C. Pennington and Reverend Alexander Crummell faced several injustices, university officials said. Pennington was also the first Black student to attend Yale University.

The two men were not allowed to formally register for classes or matriculate for a degree, because of their race. They did not have access to library resources and were not allowed to participate in classroom discussions due to racism.

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Despite the injustices they faced, Pennington and Crummell became highly regarded pastors and pan-African scholars in their lifetimes. They were also both leaders in the abolitionist movement.

Pennington wrote the first African American textbook and an autobiography titled “The Fugitive Blacksmith.” Crummel later founded the American Negro Academy in Washington D.C.

On Tuesday, the Yale Board of Trustees voted to confer the M.A. Privatim degree to Pennington and Crummell. During the 1830s and 1840s, the honorary master’s degree was offered to students who could not finish their studies due to special circumstances.

Yale University officials said the Board of Trustees came to a decision based on research brought forth by the Yale and Slavery Working Group.

The university will host a ceremony honoring Pennington and Crummell to commemorate the conferral of the M.A. Privatim degrees in the fall of 2023.