Man threatens to torch rare document of first African-American to graduate from Harvard

By Funke Oyelade,

Earlier this month, a Chicago man had threatened to burn a rare and historic document if Harvard University does not offer him a large amount of money for them. However, he later changed his mind.

Rufus McDonald, 53, found a 140-year-old document - the graduation certificate of Richard T. Greener, the first African-American to graduate from Harvard in 1870. Last year, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that McDonald found the rare document.

McDonald originally told the Sun Times that he would burn them if Harvard University does not offer more than the $7,500 they tried to negotiate with him. “I’ll roast and burn them,” he said.

A Harvard representative, contacted by Sun-Times, did details about Harvard’s negotiations with McDonald, other than noting that they offered the man more $7,500 for the document, reports the Huffington Post.

McDonald has sold some of the papers to other institutions, but has threatened to burn the ones that remain in his possession.

According to the Chicagoist, McDonald later had a change of heart and decided not to go through with his threat, instead waiting for another talk with Harvard University. He told the Sun-Times he "decided against it" after the overwhelming response from the original story about his threat.

image: Wikimedia Commons



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