The Classics in Black and White

Black Colleges, Classics Education, Resistance, and Assimilation

Title Details

Pages: 208

Illustrations: 10 b&w images

Trim size: 0.230in x 0.350in



Pub Date: 05/15/2024

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6662-3

List Price: $29.95


Pub Date: 05/15/2024

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6661-6

List Price: $114.95

The Classics in Black and White

Black Colleges, Classics Education, Resistance, and Assimilation

A study of the classics curriculum in Black colleges formed after the Civil War

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  • Description

Following emancipation, African Americans continued their quest for an education by constructing schools and colleges for Black students, mainly in the U.S. South, to acquire the tools of literacy, but beyond this, to enroll in courses in the Greek and Latin classics, then the major curriculum at American liberal arts colleges and universities. Classically trained African Americans from the time of the early U.S. republic had made a link between North Africa and the classical world; therefore, from almost the beginning of their quest for a formal education, many African Americans believed that the classics were their rightful legacy.

The Classics in Black and White is based extensively on the study of course catalogs of colleges founded for Black people after the Civil War by Black churches, largely White missionary societies and White philanthropic organizations. Kenneth W. Goings and Eugene O’Connor uncover the full extent of the colleges’ classics curriculums and showcase the careers of prominent African American classicists, male and female, and their ultimately unsuccessful struggle to protect the liberal arts from being replaced by Black conservatives and White power brokers with vocational instruction such as woodworking for men and domestic science for women. This move to eliminate classics was in large part motivated by the very success of the colleges’ classics programs. As Goings’s and O’Connor’s survey of Black colleges’ curriculums and texts reveals, the lessons they taught were about more than declensions and conjugations—they imparted the tools of self-formation and self-affirmation.

About the Author/Editor

Kenneth W. Goings (Author)
KENNETH W. GOINGS is the Courtesy Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at Ohio State University. He has authored nearly two dozen peer-reviewed articles and four books, including The NAACP Comes of Age: The Defeat of Judge John J. Parker, Mammy and Uncle Mose: Black Collectibles and American Stereotyping, The New African American Urban History, “Lessons Learned: The Role of the Classics at Black Colleges and Universities” (with Eugene O’Connor), and “‘Tell Them We Are Rising’: African Americans and the Classics” (with Eugene O’Connor).

Eugene O'Connor (Author)
EUGENE O'CONNOR is the recently-retired managing editor at Ohio State University Press and an independent Classics scholar. In addition to four books—which include titles like Symbolum Salacitatis: A Study of the God Priapus as a Literary Character and The Essential Epicurus: Letters, Principal Doctrines, Vatican Sayings, and Fragments—he has authored eighteen articles and dozens of translations. Those articles include “Black Athena before Black Athena: The Teaching of Greek and Latin at HBCUs during the Nineteenth Century” (with K. W. Goings) in African Athena: New Agendas, “Into the Republic of Letters: The Classics, Church/State Politics, and the ‘Firing’ of William S. Scarborough” (with K. W. Goings), and “The Classical Curriculum at Black Colleges and Universities and the Roles of the Various Missionary Aid Societies” (with K. W. Goings).