Honestly, I was beyond fury when I ran across this story. So much so, that I have decided to vent about it here to you, the only people I know who can completely understand my distress!
To sum things up, a Chicago contractor hired to help demo an old vacant house found an antique steam trunk in the attic, and with help managed to get it to his truck and take it home. Inside he found a heap of old papers and took them to a local book and manuscript dealer who informed him that he had found a collection of very special and historical papers:
The FIRST black graduate of Harvard University; Richard Theodore Greener!
Well, unfortunately for the many scholars, and us nosy and excited history lovers, he decided to hold the papers RANSOM! He feels his request for a huge purchase price of the collection is fair and if no one will pay up, he has threatened to BURN every last bit of them; letters, paintings, portraits, poetry, ect. The gall of some people!
And Darlings, I must tell you that this is what sent me over the edge, in an interview with NPR he said he can not “afford to donate” the items (even though he found them for FREE… and let’s just wait till the original home owner realizes it all came from the attic of a house they owned…). I am absolutely livid! Please tell me I’m not the only one!
You can read the story and listen to the interview here: NPR – Discovery Sparks Interest In Forgotten Black Scholar