Man who found historical papers threatens to burn them

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A South Side man is threatening to burn historical papers he found in his home if he doesn’t get what he considers a fair price for them.

Rufus McDonald wants a fair price for the Harvard Diploma of Richard Theodore Greener from 1870.  Greener is the first African-American to graduate from the Ivy League School.

McDonald found the diploma and other rare and valuable documents about Greener’s life in the attic of an Englewood home that was about to be demolished.

The diploma was appraised at $65,000 but Harvard only wanted to pay him $7,500.   McDonald said he would rather burn the diploma than sell it to Harvard at that price.

Today he said he would never burn such an important piece of history.  He wants to sell the diploma to someone who will display it for all to appreciate.


If you’re interested in buying it contact Eric Almond at


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