Blacks in Classical Studies (Athens, Santorini)

NEW CYA Course

This course will seek to accomplish two goals: Through reading various African-American texts students will discover the works that have found a connection to classic literature. In addition, we will explore how African American authors have often used classic literature to help illuminate the message in their works as a way to tell their story and as a tool for the fight for equality. Also, through a close read of Frank Snowden’s work Blacks in Antiquity students will learn about the African presence in ancient times. The purpose of this is to hopefully bridge the gap between the study of classics and the Black experience, by unveiling a rich and powerful history that began well before enslavement.


Main Course Texts: 

  • Blacks in Antiquity by Franks Snowden
  • The Ebony Column by E. Ashley Hairston.
  • Other texts (i.e. Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Huey P. Newton, etc.) will be shared as short excerpts for further study and analyzation.


Course Approach

Each student will need three journals: one for taking notes on class discussions, one for recording their responses to the reflection question that is connected to each day’s reading, and one for reflecting on any of the field study opportunities that we engage in. Each class session will be in the form of Socratic dialogue, where the instructor and students openly discuss their perspectives and questions on the texts assigned each night. When we are not in class, we will be touring various places that connect to the people and places that are within the readings and have been discussed in class. There is one final exam and it is in the form of an essay.  This essay is called the Reflection Paper and the purpose is to connect every text, every field study experience into a personal reflection that reveals how the course has changed you and informed your worldview. A rubric for this final exam/essay will be provided.


Learning Objectives

There are several academic goals for this class:

  1. To reflect on, through deep discussion, the texts we will be exploring.
  2. To analyze through writing about the material as a way to communicate deep, reflective, and critical thinking.
  3. To cultivate a person’s curiosity and willingness to share that curiosity with others.
  4. To create an appreciation for Classic literature by seeing the role it has played in the creation of African American literature and their fight for equality.
  5. To recognize the history of Ancient African Civilizations and its intersection with the ancient world.
  6. To compare and contrast diverse texts from various sources and backgrounds in order to learn the full story of humankind.


syllabus button