Glimpse of a Visionary: Jeffrey Campbell ’33

Glimpse of a Visionary: Jeffrey Campbell ’33

St. Lawrence University Magazine
Winter 2006

Steve Peraza ’06

Jeffrey Campbell ’33 is generally thought of as St. Lawrence’s first African-American graduate. In a University Fellowship paper, Steve Peraza ’06, a history and sociology double major from New York City, contends that Campbell deserves to be recognized on different and broader grounds. “Much of the attention brought to Jeffrey Campbell’s name at St. Lawrence University has centered on Campbell’s social status as the first African American student to graduate,” Peraza writes, “not his accomplishments as an exemplary American citizen committed to his ‘faith and works’. Campbell may never have accepted that legacy; he might have more readily identified with a legacy that posits him as a progressive-minded and intellectually motivated Unitarian Universalist minister.”

The son of a blue-eyed, blond-haired white woman and a Black Boston attorney, Campbell admits in a brief autobiographical sketch that he bore the psychological and social “burden” of mixed racial lineage from his birth on March 1, 1910 (he died September 16, 1984). Perhaps those moments in which the Campbell family had to guard their safety because of racial discrimination led Campbell to ignore his “racial condition” and “establish [his] individuality” as a human being and not a Black human being…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,