August 26, 1808
On August 26, 1808, the Raleigh (N.C.) Register ran an ad from Presbyterian educator, minister and free black John Chavis announcing the separation of his classical education school into a Day School for whites and an Evening School for black children. Since its start in 1805, the school had been integrated up to this point.
Sometime between 1792 and 1795, John Chavis from Virginia apparently resided in New Jersey, where he reportedly had taken private classes under the Rev. John Witherspoon in preparation for entering the Presbyterian ministry. In the recorded September 25, 1792, minutes of the trustees of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University), there is a recommendation by Reverend John Blair that "Mr. Todd Henry, a Virginian, and John Chavis, a free black man of that state, ... be received" on the school's Leslie Fund. After Witherspoon's death in 1794, Chavis enrolled in Liberty Hall Academy in Lexington, Virginia, in 1795. The school was renamed Washington Academy in 1798, later becoming known as Washington College and then Washington & Lee in the late 1800s.
The Presbytery of Lexington (Virginia) licensed John Chavis as Preacher on November 19, 1800 — making him the First Black Ordained Presbyterian Minister in America.