First black grad of SW College gets tombstone

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) A former slave who later became the first black graduate of Southwestern College in Winfield no longer lies anonymously at a Wichita cemetery.

The Rev. Elijah Pilgrim Geiger now has a tombstone at Maple Grove Cemetery recognizing his achievements as a minister and a scholar.

Geiger lived from 1864 to 1943 and had been buried in an unmarked grave. The Wichita Eagle reports Geiger graduated from Southwestern in 1899 and went on to become a Wichita minister.

Wichita vice mayor Lavonta Williams on Sunday read a proclamation recognizing Oct. 16 as Elijah P. Geiger Day during a service honoring him.

He was born into slavery in Alabama, the third of 11 children to parents who lived on a plantation with 77 slaves and 15 homes owned by Alexander Geiger.

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