• Little Known Black History Fact: Dr. Richard Greener

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    In 1898, after being a pawn of groups with political agendas, Richard Greener accepted a job in Vladivostok, Russia, courtesy of President William McKinley. He left his family and started a new family with a Japanese common-law wife and worked in Russia until 1905.

    In his remaining years of life, Richard Greener lived with family in the Hyde Park area, which was six miles away from the home where the trunk was found. He lost contact with wives and children of both families, with the exception of his daughter, Bella de Costa Greene.

    Richard Greener died in 1922.

    Since the discovery, USC has reportedly paid McDonald $52,000. According to the Chicago Sun Times, McDonald has threatened to destroy the documents if Harvard refuses to pay him an adequate amount. They have reportedly offered him $7,500 for a collection that was appraised at over $65,000. In the documents, historians found that blacks and whites were eating and learning together in 1876, something that was unthinkable pre-Reconstruction. The documents were even more significant for USC, as racists of the era tried to eliminate the presence of black students at USC by cutting them out of books and records.

    McDonald has stated that he was frustrated by Harvard’s offer and has openly threatened to burn the remaining items.

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