General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Blacks In Classical Studies
Language English
Module lecturer dr Anika T. Prather
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position lecturer
Faculty Faculty of Polish and Classical Philology
Semester 2021/2022 (summer)
Duration 15
USOS code 000


Module aim (aims)

1. Module aim (aims): This course will cover various African-American texts and works that have found a connection to classic literature. The purpose of this class is to reveal how the literature connects to common themes relevant to all of humanity. In addition, we will explore how African American authors have often used classic literature to help illuminate the message in their works.

2. There are several academic goals for this class: 1. To engage the community in deep discussion about the texts we will be exploring 2. To build the writing skills necessary to communicate deep, reflective and critical thinking. 3. To cultivate a person’s curiosity and willingness to share that curiosity with others. 4. To develop an appreciation for Classic literature by seeing the role it has played in the creation of African American literature. 5. To develop a desire to read constantly from various sources and backgrounds in order to learn the full story of humankind.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

The only skill needed for this course is the ability to read and speak English and to have an open mind ready to explore the diversity found within ancient Greece and Rome and it connection to the African American people. No other pre-requisites are required.


Week 1: Passages from W. E. B. DuBois, James Baldwin and passage from Living in the Constellation of the Canon By Dr. Anika T. Prather

Week 2: Blacks in Antiquity Ch. 1 pages 1-14 By Frank Snowden and The Histories Book 3 pgs. 169-183 By Herodotus

Week 3: The Girl from Andros by Terence

Week 4: The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano Written by Himself ; The story of the Ethiopian Eunuch; The story of the Queen of Sheba; Chapter 1 of Song of Solomon

Week 5: The Great Ideas and The Adinkra Symbols,

Week 6: The Ebony Column pgs 1-top of pg 14 ; excerpt from Miseducation of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson

Week 7: The Ebony Column pgs. 14-42; Excerpt from The Confessions by Augustine; Phillis Wheatley “To Maecenas”; Excerpt from the Iliad (Achilles and Patroclus)

Week 8: The Ebony Column pgs. 43-63; story of David and Goliath; “Goliath of Gath” by Phillis Wheatley; Excerpts from the Aeneid about the wars between the gods Book 9, 576-604

Week 9: Ebony Column pgs.65-92; Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Ch. 7; Columbian Orator: General Instructions for Speaking” Pgs 5-25 ; Cicero’s Oration pgs. 115-116

Week 10: The Ebony Column pgs. 93-120 ; Frederick Douglass Speech “What to the Slave is the 4th of July”; Columbian Orator: Cato’s Speech Before the Roman Senate pgs. 41-42

Week 11: The Ebony Column pgs.121-158; Anna Julia Cooper “Womanhood: A Vital Element…”; Antigone by Sophocles

Week 12: The Ebony Column pgs. 159-174; DuBois Of the Wings of Atalanta; The myth of Atalanta and Hippomenes

Week 13: The Ebony Column pgs. 175-198; Excerpt from Living in the Constellation of the Canon By Dr. Anika T. Prather

Week 14:Excerpt from Before Color Prejudice by Frank Snowden

Week 15: Final Class and Reflections

Book Reports

2 book responses based on books you have read during this class will be due during the course of the class. Please select your books from the lists below and be sure to select your books from different columns. Extra book reports can be done for extra credit.

Texts from Black/African Roots Texts from Western Canon Contemporary Texts

Souls of Black Folk by WEB DuBois Uncle Tom’s Cabin -Harriet Beecher Stowe Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah

Equiano or Gustavas Vassa, the African, Written by

Himself Don Quixote-Cerventes Educated by Tara Westover

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an

American Slave, Written by Himself Walden & Civil Disobedience-Henry David Thoreau Becoming by Michelle Obama

Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin Othello-Shakespeare My Life, My Love, My Legacy by Coretta Scott King

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry Plutarch’s Lives Vol 1 Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Sula by Toni Morrison Plato’s Republic

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Aristotle’s Poetics Walking with the Wind by John Lewis

Any play from Terence the Comedies by Oxford

Classics How to be Free by Epictetus

Invisible Man

By Ralph Ellison The Medea by Euripides We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Voice of Anna Julia Cooper Edited by Charles

Lemert and Esme Bhan Plato’s Meno The Prophet By Khalil Gibran

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas Antigone By Sophocles Anam Cara A Book of Celtic Wisdom by John O’Donohue

The Miseducation of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson The Waves by Virginia Woolf Marva Collins’ Way by Marva Collins and Civia Tamarkin

Revolutionary Suicide by Huey P. Newton The Confessions by Augustine Forgotten Readers By Elizabeth McHenry

Quest for the Silver Fleece by WEB DuBois Jason and the Golden Fleece by Appollonius of Rhodes Kindred by Octavia Butler

The Autobiography of William Sanders Scarborough:

An American Journey from Slavery to Scholarship Any plays from Terence the African (except Andria) Blacks in Antiquity by Frank Snowden

Reading list

· The Ebony Column: Classics, Civilization, and the African American Reclamation of the West By E. Ashley Hairston purchase the book or the online copy at

· For the book reports (see end of syllabus) purchase the books you have chosen to read on Amazon, Kindle or obtain at the library.

· Dr. Prather will also provide hand-outs from Blacks in Antiquity and Before Color Prejudice by Frank Snowden and other sources.