Cicero Crosses the Color Line: Pro Archia Poeta and W. E. B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk
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Pro Archia Poetais a famous and influential vindication of learning and literature that the Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero delivered in 62 B.C.E. He was defending the poet Aulus Licinius Archias, a Greek...
When the Lawrences stopped [coming to school], I knew that the doubts of the old folks about book-learning had conquered again, and so, toiling up the hill, and getting as far into the cabin as possible, I put Cicero ‘pro Archia Poeta’ into the simplest English with local applications, and usually convinced them – for a week or so.2
I would like to express my gratitude to Harriet Fertik, Erin M. Hanses, Stephen M. Wheeler, and the journal’s anonymous referees for their many helpful comments, which have much improved this contribution. Further thanks are due to this paper’s original audience at the 2016 annual meeting of the Society for Classical Studies for a lively and rewarding discussion.