Helen Chesnutt
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14 Black Classicists: A Photo Installation

  • 12/12-02/27
  • Open during regular library hours
  • Ramsey Library - Blowers Gallery

Blowers Gallery in UNC Asheville’s Ramsey Library is now featuring 14 Black Classicists: A Photo Installation, on black scholars of the post-Civil War era. This exhibition is free and open to everyone during regular library hours, through Feb. 27.

A reception from 5-6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8 in the gallery will feature the creator of the 14 Black Classistsexhibit – Michele Valerie Ronnick, Wayne State University professor of classical and modern languages, literatures and cultures. Ronnick will also present a lecture, A Look at Black Classicism in North Carolina: From Wiley Lane (1852-1885) to Helen Maria Chesnutt (1880-1969), from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Ramsey Library Whitman Room. These events also are free and open to everyone.

The exhibit features photos and information about black scholars, largely neglected in modern histories, who taught Greek and Latin at the college or university level and whose academic accomplishments helped pave the way for future generations of African-Americans entering American universities. "With them," says Ronnick, "begins the serious study and teaching of philology (the study of language) by African-Americans.”

Among those featured are William Sanders Scarborough, the first black member of the American Language Association and author of a Greek textbook, and two North Carolina natives – Wiley Lane, who became the first black professor of Greek at Howard University, and Helen Chesnutt, who, as a high school Latin teacher in Ohio, helped inspire her student Langston Hughes. She also was the daughter of novelist and essayist Charles Waddell Chesnutt. The exhibition’s creation was funded by the James Loeb Classical Library Foundation at Harvard University.

This exhibition is presented at UNC Asheville by its Center for Diversity Education and Ramsey Library. 

Contact for this event:

  • Center for Diversity Education
  • dmiles@unca.edu
  • 828.232.5024