The powerful legacy of classical education among Black intellectuals and educators in America is a national treasure with the capacity to bless teachers and students the world over. This rich heritage brings to light a wealth of truth, goodness, and beauty from within the great tradition. Through the work of many great readers, writers, teachers, artists, and people of action who loved, taught, and put into practice the wisdom and virtue of great guides such as Augustine of Hippo, while themselves living with injustices and hardships like we do, we have access to this rich heritage. Their insights shine a light into the heart of the Great Books and bring their gems before us with clarity and brilliance. This engagement of the Black intellectual tradition with the classics is a gift that we should bring to all students.
Our two presenters guide us into this exciting and timely topic with their own unique voices and professional backgrounds, exploring both the historical and scholarly foundations as well as the stories and experiences of both current and past teachers who have been champions of this heritage, providing inspiring ideas for action and application in all classical schools.
Dr. Anika T. Prather earned her B.A. from Howard University in elementary education as well as a Masters in liberal arts from St. John’s College (Annapolis) and a PhD in English, Theatre, and Literacy Education from the University of Maryland (College Park). Her research focus is on building literacy with African American students through engagement in the books of the Canon. She self-published her book Living in the Constellation of the Canon: The Lived Experiences of African American Students Reading Great Books Literature. She has served as a teacher, supervisor for student teachers, director of education, head of school, and a professor in the Classics Department at Howard University. With her husband Damon, she founded The Living Water School, located in southern Maryland and attended by their three children. Anika is a popular speaker and has shared about classical Christian education with audiences at many organizations, including Great Hearts Academies, the Society for Classical Learning, St. John’s College, and the Classic Learning Test.
Dr. Angel Parham is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia. Angel is the cofounder and executive director of Nyansa Classical Community, which provides curricula and programming designed to connect with students from diverse backgrounds and invites them to take part in the Great Conversation, cultivate their moral imagination, and pursue truth, goodness, and beauty. As an advocate for the renewal of classical education, Angel has addressed teachers and school leaders through the Society for Classical Learning, the Classic Learning Test, and other organizations. She works in the area of historical sociology, engaging in research and writing which examine the past in order to better understand how to live well in the present and envision wisely for the future. This research focus is rooted in her interest in reconnecting sociology to its classical roots and animated by questions such as “What is a good society?”. She is the author of American Routes: Racial Palimpsests and the Transformation of Race (Oxford, 2017). She has been a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, as well as the recipient of a Fulbright grant.
These two presenters are also coauthors of a book forthcoming from Classical Academic Press titled The Black Intellectual Tradition and the Great Conversation: Black Writers as Essential to an Education in Truth, Goodness and Beauty (releasing summer of 2022).
Panel discussions also feature:
- Christine Perrin (Messiah University Director of Writing, Senior Lecturer)
- James LaGrand (Messiah University Professor of American History, Director of the College Honors Program)
- Zena Hitz (St. John’s College Tutor)
- Kathryn Smith (Templeton Honors College at Eastern University Co-Director of MAT in Classical Education, Assistant Professor of Classical Education)
- Brian A. Williams (Templeton Honors College at Eastern University Dean, Associate Professor of Ethics & Liberal Studies)
- Michael Hornbaker (Upper School Principal at Logos Academy in York, PA)
- Danielle Bennette Dukes (Homeschool mother, co-founder of Nyansa Classical Community, B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Florida A & M University)
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