Lieber College was built in 1837 by contractor Thomas H. Wade as South Carolina College's third faculty duplex. Although name for first resident Francis Lieber, the building's most arguably famous occupant was the university's first Black faculty member, Richard T. Greener, who lived here from 1873 until 1877. In 1873, the reorganized University of South Carolina became the only flagship southern university to integrate, leading to the resignation of most of the school's faculty, many who were employed during the antebellum period. That fall, the board of trustees hired Richard T. Greener, the first African American graduate of Harvard University, as Chair of Moral and Mental Philosophy. Greener quickly became a respected member of the faculty; in addition to lecturing, he reorganized the college library, tutored students in Greek and Latin, obtained a law degree, served as a spokesman for educational equality in South Carolina. In the spring of 1877, the withdrawal of federal troops and the election of Governor Wade Hampton III ended the Reconstruction period in South Carolina. Greener returned to Washington, D.C. and the university closed soon thereafter. It would reopen in 1880 as an all-white institution once more.
In 2017, the University of South Carolina memorialized Greener with a sculpture, placed adjacent to the school's undergraduate library. To learn more about Greener's life, listen to author Katherine Chaddock's conversation about her book, Uncompromising Activist: Richard Greener, First Black Professor at USC, with historian Walter Edgar.