To celebrate Black History month and as part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion, UoR Classics Department is delighted to announce a new installation in the department hallway and resource room (EM40), on the ground floor of the Edith Morley Building at University of Reading. This exhibition celebrates the important role of black Americans in the field of Classics and provides a unique opportunity to reflect upon the purpose of higher education and its place in the struggle for equality and human enrichments.
The study of Greek and Latin was the curricular foundation of education for many centuries, both in the United States and abroad. In the aftermath of the American Civil War, people of African descent, hungry for the ‘bread of knowledge’ as Frederick Douglass put it, wanted to learn Greek and Latin. Many institutions responded to the need; Howard University played a key role and from its inceptions offered a range of classes that enabled black American students to study ancient languages.
The black American men and women featured in this installation 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 black Americans.
This photographic installation was prepared by Marc Ives and the Classics Department, St Gabriel’s School, Newbury, based on a collection of material curated by Michele Valerie Ronnick, Distinguished Professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, USA. Its production costs were underwritten by the James Loeb Classical Library Foundation at Harvard University.
This special exhibition is on display 18 October–15 December 2023.