This Day in Black History: June 14, 1921

This Day in Black History: June 14, 1921

Georgiana R. Simpson earned a Ph.D. in German literature from the University of Chicago, one of the first Black women to earn a doctorate in the United States.

Published June 14, 2012

Georgiana R. Simpson became one of three Black women to ever earn a doctorate degree in the United States, receiving her degree in German literature from the University of Chicago.

The University of Chicago writes:

“Her doctoral dissertation, written under the supervision of Martin Schütze, focused on German Romanticism and was entitled ‘Herder's Conception of Das Volk’. Whereas Simpson's original scholarly training had nothing to do with African American themes, like [African-American scholar Carter G.] Woodson, she also found ways to employ her philological skills toward increased understanding of African-American history and literature. Her last major publication was a critical edition and translation from the French of a biography of Toussaint L'Ouverture, the leader of the Haitian slave rebellion and father of free Haiti.”

Simpson went on to teach at Howard University from 1931 until 1939.


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(Photo: Courtesy University of Chicago)

Written by Britt Middleton


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