PROF WILLIAM HENRY CROGMAN
occupies the chair of Greek and Latin in Clark University, Atlanta, in Christian character, scholarship in his department, literary ability, general culture and distinguished services stands, it is safe to say, among the first four, if not at the head of the Negro race. In all the particulars mentioned, he would honor a professorship in any college in the land.
Prof. Crogman was born on the island of St. Martin, May 5, 1841. In 1855, Mr. B. L. Boomer, chief mate of the vessel, visiting the island, became interested in the boy, then an orphan, and induced him to come to the United States. Mr. Boomer took him to his home in Middleboro, Mass., sent him to district school in the winter, and always took great interest in him. Mr. Boomer’s brothers were all seafaring men, captains or officers of vessels. With one of these the boy, Willie, began to follow the sea. This beginning afterward led to a life of eleven years on the ocean. He visited many lands, and observant and thoughtful, obtained a wide knowledge of various nationalities and parts of the world. His visits included especially England, various points on the Continent of Europe, Calcutta and Bombay in Asia, various places in South America and Australia.
In 1866, at the suggestion of Mr. Boomer, that an academic education would make him useful, Prof. Crogman, then at the age of twenty-five, began to earn means to attend an academy. He worked and laid by money till two years later in 1868, he entered Pierce Academy, in Middleboro, Mass. He remained there two years, taking an English course with French and bookkeeping.
After completing his academic course, in the Fall of 1870, Prof. Crogman started for the South to give his life to the Christian education and elevation of his race. He was recommended by the Boston Preachers’ Meeting to the work in South Carolina, and was employed by Rev. T. W. Lewis as instructor in English branches, at Claflin University, Orangeburg, S. C. Here he remained three years. In this work he became impressed with the need of a knowledge of Greek and Latin and began the study of Latin by himself. To gain a knowledge of these branches he went to Atlanta University in the Fall of 1873. This resulted in his completing there the full classical course in 1876. Prof. Francis, of Atlanta University, who was one of his teachers there, was present at the reception and in a most happy speech paid a high tribute to Prof. Crogman’s manhood, industry, thorough scholarship and rapid advancement during his college life, completing as he did the four years’ course in three years. He spoke also of Prof. Crogman’s carrying off as his bride one of their noblest and most gifted and cultured young ladies, Miss Lavinia C. Mott, of Charlotte, N. C. Immediately on his graduating from Atlanta University, Prof. Crogman was called to a position on the faculty of Clark University, where he has been ever since, having occupied his present chair since 1880. Letters expressive of their highest appreciation of him and his work were read from several of his students, who now themselves occupy prominent positions.