The field of Classics does not have a great track record in attracting minority students—a recent study by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences found that only 5 percent of bachelor's degrees in Classics were awarded to non-white students. But was this always the case? A new photography exhibit at Boston University brings attention to the inspiring stories of a number of black intellectuals drawn to the field of Classics in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Among them is William Sanders Scarborough, who was born a slave in Georgia and who went on to become the first black member of the Modern Language Association and a president of Wilberforce University. As an article about the exhibit in BU Today explains,

Until he arranged for the exhibition to come here—it was first displayed at the Detroit Public Library in 2003—Stephen Scully, a College of Arts & Sciences professor and chair of classical studies, wasn’t aware that his field had been a magnet for black intellectuals a century ago. “It’s a story that is very rarely heard, and even less imagined,” Scully says. “This is just, to me, a most inspiring story of courage. These are all pioneers.”

Read more over at the source—or, if you're in Boston, go check out the exhibit yourself at the Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground, where it's on view through the end of February.

Feature image: Frazelia Campbell via Documenting the American South/William Sanders Scarborough via Black on Campus