Yale Divinity School Commissions Painting of First African-American to Take Classes


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Yale Divinity School has commissioned an original oil portrait of James W.C. Pennington, the first African American to attend classes at Yale. The painting was commissioned to honor Pennington’s story as an important abolitionist and minister. The Pennington portrait was created by Brooklyn-based artist Jas Knight, who is originally from Hartford. The portrait is now on display in the Divinity School’s Common Room among other portraits of historically significant professors and deans. In the 1830s, Pennington, an escapee from slavery in Maryland and an aspiring minister, audited cl...