Watson, Samuel Codes
- Laura M. Calkins
political activist, politician, and the first African American to matriculate at the University of Michigan, was born in Saint James Parish, near Charleston, South Carolina, to an elite family of free blacks. Reportedly orphaned as a youngster, Samuel was sent to Washington, D.C., as the ward of the white Presbyterian minister William McLane. The District of Columbia was home to a handful of private schools for blacks during the 1840s, though which Watson may have attended or for how long is unknown His academic accomplishments and private support were such however that at the age of seventeen he enrolled at the prestigious Phillips Academy at Andover Massachusetts Watson studied in the English department which emphasized teacher training rather than in the academy s classics program which prepared young men for study at elite colleges in New England Reportedly disillusioned over southern slavery and unhappy at ...
A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.