Skip to Content

College of Education

Richard T. Greener Lecture

Richard T. Greener (1844 - 1922) was the first African American man to serve on the faculty at the University of South Carolina. The Greener Lecture series continues his legacy of teaching at USC by focusing on a topic relating to his life as an educator, philosopher, librarian, lawyer, and diplomat.

2024 Richard T. Greener Lecture: Ripen the Time for a Third Reconstruction

Featuring Barbara Y. Philips and special guest Nikky Finney
Download event flyer [pdf]

Thursday, March 14, 5 P.M.
Chappelle Auditorium, Allen University
1530 Harden Street

This event is free and open to the public, but we request that you RSVP for the 2024 Richard T. Greener Lecture here.

Free parking is available on the Allen University campus and on surrounding streets.

Barbara Y. Phillips

Barbara Y. Phillips

Barbara Y. Phillips, a social justice feminist, authored the essay Imagine and Create the Third Reconstruction for the anthology The Struggle in the South Continues (ed. Kent Spriggs, University Press of Florida forthcoming) and three essays appearing in Voices of Civil Rights Lawyers: Reflections from the Deep South, 1964-1980 (ed. Kent Spriggs, University Press of Florida 2017). She was recently an Adjunct Professor at the University of Mississippi Law School and formerly a Ford Foundation Program Officer in the Peace and Social Justice Program responsible for grant-making nationally and globally related to women’s rights.  Prior to joining the foundation, she was an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Mississippi School of Law, Spaeth Fellow at Stanford Law School, partner in the San Francisco law firm Rosen and Phillips, and civil rights litigator specializing in voting rights.  She was a community organizer prior to attending law school.

Her numerous academic articles on democracy and political participation include Joaquin Avila: Voting Rights Gladiator, 18 Seattle Journal for Social Justice 1, 21 (Summer 2019); How a Targeted Triggering Approach Can Repair the Voting Rights Act: Congress Can Eliminate the Blight of Voting Discrimination Once and For All, Voting Rights Symposium, 85 Miss. L.J. 6, 1163 (2017) (co-authored}; The Gift of Hopwood: Diversity and the Fife and Drum March Back to the 19th Century, 34 Ga. L. Rev. 291 (Fall 1999) .

She was honored by the Mississippi Center for Justice in 2022 as a Champion of Justice.

Her creative non-fiction has been published in The New York Times; Southern Cultures; The Citron Review; 2023 Anthology Aunt Chloe: A Journal of Artful Candor and others.

Her education includes:  B.A. Macalester College; J.D., Northwestern University School of Law; J.S.M., Stanford Law School. 

Read her essay, "How I Became a Civil Rights Lawyer" [pdf]

Nikky Finney

Nikky Finney

Nikky Finney is Carolina Distinguished Professor at USC in Columbia where she is also Director of the Ernest A. Finney, Jr. Cultural Arts Center. Finney is the author of On Wings Made of Gauze; Rice; The World Is Round; and Head Off & Split, which won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2011. Her new collection of poems, Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry, was released in 2020.


Past Lectures

Neil Kingham

2023 - Neil Kinghan

Neil Kinghan delivered the 2023 Richard T. Greener Lecture on Friday, September 15 in Harper College, room 320 (also known as Euphradian Hall).

He will discuss his book, A Brief Moment in the Sun: Francis Cardozo and Reconstruction in South Carolina. Copies will be available for purchase from All Good Books.

Cardozo was appointed to the USC Board of Trustees in 1869 and enrolled in its law school in 1874. 

According to LSU Press: ​"Neil Kinghan’s Brief Moment in the Sun is the first complete historical analysis of Francis Cardozo and his contribution to Reconstruction and African American history. It draws on original research on Cardozo’s early life and education in Scotland and England and pulls together for the first time the extant sources on his experiences in South Carolina and Washington, DC. Kinghan reveals all that Cardozo achieved as a Black educator and political leader and explores what else he might have realized if white racism and violence had not ended his efforts in South Carolina. Above all, Kinghan shows that Francis Cardozo deserves a place of honor and distinction in the history of nineteenth-century America."

Marie Benedict & Victoria Christopher Murray

2022 - Marie Benedict & Victoria Christopher Murray

The 2022 Richard T. Greener Lecture featured Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray, bestselling authors of The Personal Librarian, their novel about the extraordinary life of Belle da Costa Greene who became J.P. Morgan's personal librarian. She was born Belle Marion Greener, daughter of Richard T. Greener and Genevieve Ida Fleet, but along with her mother and siblings she passed as white and hid her true identity. The 2022 Richard T. Greener Lecture was moderated by Augusta Baker Endowed Chair, Nicole Cooke, Ph.D. at Richland Library on Thursday, September 8, 2022. ​It was co-sponsored by the Center for Innovation & Inclusion in Higher Education, the Augusta Baker Endowment, and Richland Library. 

Eddie Comeaux

2021 - Eddie Comeaux

The 2021 Richard T. Greener Lecture was given by Eddie Comeaux, Professor of Higher Education and Executive Director of the Center for Athletes’ Rights and Equity at the University of California-Riverside: “Choosing Their Battlefields: Paul Robeson and Other Black College Football Players’ Activism for Racial Equity.” The event was part of the Museum of Education's fall exhibit on "The History of American College Football" by guest curators Christian K. Anderson (who moderated the talk) and Amber C. Fallucca. It was held on Wednesday, December 1, 2021.

Randall Kennedy

2020 - Randall Kennedy

The 2020 Richard T. Greener lecture with Harvard Law Professor Randall Kennedy was held on Monday, December 1, 2020: “Black Students and Struggles for Freedom on Southern Campuses. This year marks the 150th anniversary since Greener's graduation from Harvard. Yvonne Osirim, president of the Harvard Black Alumni Association, provided opening remarks about Greener's time at Harvard. Aubrey Gibson, member of the board for the USC Black Alumni Council, engaged Prof. Kennedy in conversation after his lecture. You can view the lecture online on the Museum of Education's YouTube Channel.

James Clyburn

2018 - James Clyburn

United States Representative James E. Clyburn served as the inaugural speaker at the unveiling of the Greener Statue. 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.