The Autobiography of William Sanders Scarborough (Hardcover)
An American Journey from Slavery to Scholarship (African American Life)
African American Life Series, 9780814332245, 425pp.
Publication Date: December 6, 2004
This illuminating autobiography traces Scarborough's path out of slavery in Macon, Georgia, to a prolific scholarly career that culminated with his presidency of Wilberforce University. Despite the racism he met as he struggled to establish a place in higher education for African Americans, Scarborough was an exemplary scholar, particularly in the field of classical studies. He was the first African American member of the Modern Language Association, a forty-four-year member of the American Philological Association, and a true champion of higher education. Scarborough advocated the reading, writing, and teaching of liberal arts at a time when illiteracy was rampant due to slavery's legacy, white supremacists were dismissing the intellectual capability of blacks, and Booker T. Washington was urging African Americans to focus on industrial skills and training.
The Autobiography of William Sanders Scarborough is a valuable historical record of the life and work of a pioneer who helped formalize the intellectual tradition of the black scholar. Michele Valerie Ronnick contextualizes Scarborough's narrative through extensive notes and by exploring a wide variety of sources such as census records, church registries, period newspapers, and military and university records. This book is indispensable to anyone interested in the history of intellectual endeavor in America, Africana studies and classical studies, in particular, as well as those familiar with the associations and institutions that welcomed and valued Scarborough.