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Classics Exhibition – Black Classicists: Ostracism to Scholarship

Classics Exhibition – Black Classicists: Ostracism to Scholarship

Canford’s Library is hosting a Classics Exhibition in the Rathbone Room of the Library until Friday 18th November. The exhibition, titled Black Classicists: Ostracism to Scholarship, is an international exhibition that began in the USA and is now travelling around the UK.

The display celebrates the important role of African Americans in the field of Classics and provides an opportunity to reflect upon the purpose of higher education and its place in the struggle for equality and human enrichment.

The study of Greek and Latin was the curricular foundation of education for many centuries, both in the US and abroad. In the aftermath of the American Civil War, people of African descent, hungry for the “bread of knowledge,” to quote Frederick Douglass, wanted to learn Greek and Latin. Many institutions responded to this need; Howard University played a key role and from its inception offered a range of classes that enabled African American students to study ancient languages.

The African American men and women featured in the exhibition taught Greek and Latin at the college or university level and made ground-breaking achievements in education. Their academic accomplishments bolstered a new tradition of black intellectualism and resulted in greater opportunities for future generations of African Americans.

Canford’s Head of Classical Civilisation, Anna Berry, said:

“We are very happy to be hosting this illuminating and timely exhibition at Canford. It beautifully illustrates that Classics never has, and continues not to be the sole preserve of wealthy, white, male Europeans.”

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