Alexander Twilight

Filed in Featured, Students & alumni

The first African American to earn a degree from an American college or university, Alexander Twilight (1795-1857), the son of Ichabod and Mary Twilight, was born in Corinth, Vermont, on September 23, 1795.  He prepared for College at the Randolph Academy and graduated from Middlebury College in 1823.

Twilight soon established himself as a teacher, first in Peru, New York (1824-1828), then Vergennes, Vermont (1828-1829).  He was ordained a Congregational clergyman in 1829, but chose to pursue his career in education.  Twilight was appointed Principal of the Orleans County Grammar School in Brownington, Vermont and reportedly built the school building eventually known as the Brownington Academy with his own hands. He taught in Brownington from 1829-1847.  During that period, he served as a representative to the State Legislature in 1836. Twilight briefly relocated to Canada, teaching in Shipton (1848-1850) and Hatley (1850-1852), before returning to Brownington, where he again taught from 1852-1855. 

Twilight married Mercy Ladd Merrill, on April 20, 1826.  He died in Brownington, Vermont, on June 19, 1857.