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The Road to Intellectual Freedom

The Department of African American Studies to present series examining the history of Black Classicists in America

Sep 13, 2017 | Article by: Amy Manley


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William Lewis Bulkley, who, in 1893, became the first person of African descent to earn a Ph.D. from Syracuse University

Renowned classical scholar and author, Michele Valerie Ronnick will present “14 Black Classicists: The Politics of American Learning” on Thursday, Sept. 21, at 5:30 p.m. in Bird Library’s Peter Graham Scholarly Commons (Room 114).  The lecture is part of the 2017 Fall Colloquium series presented by the Department of African American Studies housed in the College of Arts and Sciences. The event is free and open to the public.

Ronnick, a professor of classical and modern languages, literatures and cultures, at Wayne State University is also the creator of "14 Black Classicists," an exhibition that has traveled to 48 schools, museums and libraries across the country and is currently on view at the Community Folk Art Center (CFAC) through November. The installation includes homage to Latinist and civil rights activist William Lewis Bulkley, who, in 1893, became the first person of African descent to earn a Ph.D. from Syracuse University. The exhibition was funded by a grant from Harvard University’s James Loeb Classical Library Foundation.

Thorough her groundbreaking research, Ronnick illuminates the under-examined history of Black engagement in classical studies.  Her most notable publications include "The Autobiography of William Sanders Scarborough: An American Journey from Slavery to Scholarship" (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2005) and "The Works of William Sanders Scarborough: Black Classicist and Race Leader" (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006).

The Ronnick event is co-sponsored by Syracuse University Humanities Center, the department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics’ Classics Program and the departments of English, history and religion.

On Nov. 2, Syracuse University’s role in the history of Black classicism will be featured in another talk, “The Education of William Bulkley: From Freedman's School to the Hall of Languages.” This presentation by Bulkley’s biographer, independent researcher Peggy Norris, begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Community Folk Art Center.  It is also free and open to the public.

For more information on either event call 315.443.4302 or email aas@syr.edu.


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Contact Information

Amy Manley
amman100@syr.edu
315.443.9463