Mary Jane Patterson

Mary Jane Patterson, 2022, Acrylic on Canvas, 24 x 30″

Mary Jane Patterson is considered the first Black woman to receive a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College in 1862.

Patterson initially took the one year female course of studies at Oberlin but continued on to the four year male course which included math, Greek and Latin. After she graduation, she was a teacher and a school administrator.

In addition Patterson was active in various civic projects. She helped sustain the Home for the Aged and Infirm Colored People in Washington D.C. and also created an industrial school for African American girls.

Note: Many of the women in this book attended Oberlin as it became one of the first colleges in the United States to admit African Americans in 1835, and in 1837 the first to admit women. It has been known since its founding for progressive student activism.

Mary Jane Patterson Biography