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Join us in person for a dialogue between John W. I. Lee (History) and Krzysztof Janowicz (Geography) about Lee’s new book, The First Black Archaeologist: A Life of John Wesley Gilbert. Audience Q&A will follow.

The First Black Archaeologist reveals the untold story of a pioneering African American classical scholar, teacher, community leader, and missionary. Born into slavery in rural Georgia, John Wesley Gilbert (1863-1923) gained national prominence in the early 1900s, but his accomplishments are little known today. Using evidence from archives across the U.S. and Europe, from contemporary publications, and from newly discovered documents, this book chronicles, for the first time, Gilbert’s remarkable journey. As we follow Gilbert from the segregated public schools of Augusta, Georgia, to the lecture halls of Brown University, to his hiring as the first black faculty member of Augusta’s Paine Institute, and through his travels in Greece, western Europe, and the Belgian Congo, we learn about the development of African American intellectual and religious culture, and about the enormous achievements of an entire generation of black students and educators.

John W. I. Lee is Associate Professor of History at UC Santa Barbara. His previous publications include A Greek Army on the March (Cambridge University Press) and The Persian Empire (The Great Courses/The Teaching Company). He studies the history of ancient West Asia, especially war, society, and culture in the Greek and Achaemenid world from ca. 650-330 BC, as well as receptions, interpretations, and representations of antiquity in the United States, especially amongst African American classical scholars during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Harry Girvetz Memorial Endowment

Proof of full vaccination required for all attendees. Visit the IHC's event page for acceptable forms of vaccine documentation.

Event Details

  • Nathan Incandela
  • Donna Anderson
  • Visala Tallavarjula

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