Edward A. Bouchet
First Black Yale Grad, Ph.D. & Phi Beta Kappa
Monument in Evergreen Cemetery 92 Winthrop Avenue
In the list of often weird “CT Firsts” I’ve slowly been compiling, this one really stands out to me. This guy was super impressive.
Edward Bouchet (1852 – 1918) was the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. from an American University and was the first African-American to graduate from Yale University in 1874. He completed his dissertation in Yale’s Ph.D. program in 1876 becoming the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. (in any subject). His area of study was Physics. Bouchet was also the first African-American to be elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
Bouchet was also among the first 20 Americans (of any race) to receive a Ph.D. in physics and was the sixth to earn a Ph. D. in physics from Yale.
I sought out his memorial burial plot in New Haven because it’s part of the CT Freedom Trail.
As I navigated the littered streets of southwestern New Haven, I realized that I never looked up where this guy’s grave was. On top of that, Evergreen Cemetery appeared closed, which of course made no sense. However, the Winthrop Avenue entrances were closed, most likely because the neighborhood on that side of the property is, um, crap.
So I drove all the way around the cemetery to Ella Grasso Blvd and entered the open main entrance. Realizing I had no idea where to go (and this place is an absolute maze of roads), I sheepishly entered the office and thankfully found a map of notables buried there. Most notably, Dr. Edward Bouchet.
The monument to Dr. Bouchet in Evergreen Cemetery was unveiled in October 1998.
That is all.