Telling the Stories: Classical Education and the Black Intellectual Tradition

This brief talk will introduce some classical educators and authors who helped pass on the classical Christian tradition we now enjoy.

When Martin Luther King, jr., was asked which book besides the Bible he would take with him to a deserted island, he replied, “I would have to pick Plato’s Republic. … There is not a creative idea extant that is not discussed, in some way, in this work. Whatever realm of theology or philosophy is one’s interest—and I am deeply interested in both—somewhere along the way, in this book, you will find the matter explored.” Of course, King was not the first Black intellectual interested in the traditions of classical and Christian education. Before him were Phyllis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, Maxwell Philip, Alexander Crummell, William Sanders Scarborough, W. E. B. Du Bois, Anna Julia Cooper, and many others. Their stories ought to be known and their writings ought to be read. This brief talk will introduce some of these classical educators and authors who helped pass on the classical Christian tradition we now enjoy.

Dr. Brian Williams

Dr. Brian A. Williams is Dean of the Templeton Honors College and Assistant Professor of Ethics & Liberal Studies at Eastern University in Pennsylvania. Previously, he was Lecturer in Theology and Christian Ethics at the University of Oxford and Director of Oxford Conversations, a collection of interviews with influential Christian academics and scholars. He holds an MPhil and DPhil in Christian Ethics from the University of Oxford, an MA and ThM in Systematic and Historical Theology, and a BA in Biblical Studies. Currently, he is an Alcuin Fellow and a Research Fellow with the Institute of Classical Education. Dr. Williams is the author of The Potter’s Rib: The History, Theology, and Practice of Mentoring for Pastoral Formation.

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