In Memoriam

Frank Martin Snowden Jr. (1911-2007)

Frank M. Snowden Jr., who taught the classics at Howard University for nearly half a century, died from congestive heart failure at an assisted living facility in Washington, D.C. He was 95 years old.

Snowden was among the first scholars to document the presence of Africans in ancient Roman and Greek civilization. It was Snowden’s thesis that blacks were not regarded as inferior by the ancient Europeans.

Snowden was born in rural Virginia, the son of a U.S. Army colonel. He grew up in Boston and was accepted at the prestigious Boston Latin high school. He earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in the classics at Harvard University. He joined the Howard University faculty in 1940.

Snowden was the author of the 1970 book, Blacks in Antiquity: Ethiopians in the Greco-Roman Experience. He spent 15 years conducting research for that work. In 1983 he published his second book, Before Color Prejudice: The Ancient View of Blacks.

In 2003 President Bush presented Snowden with the National Humanities Medal.