On April 1, 1841, John Randall Blackburn, a former slave who served as principal of the black schools in Xenia and the first black trustee of Ohio University, was born in Essex County, Va.
Blackburn's father was William Blackburn, a Virginia planter, and his mother was Fanny Randall, a slave, who bore eight children to William Blackburn. During the 1840s, he moved the entire family to Cincinnati, where John received private instruction to prepare for college.
He entered Dartmouth in 1859 and graduated with the class of 1863. He received a master's degree from Dartmouth 20 years later.
In addition to serving as principal of the black schools in Xenia, Blackburn taught at Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College in Rodney, Miss. He was also a trustee of Wilberforce University.
Blackburn died in Cincinnati in 1937 at the age of 96.
- Rebecca Goodman
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