William Sanders Scarborough Fellowship Fund

The American School asks for your help to fund a new scholarship to make the School’s programs and research facilities more accessible to a broader community of students and scholars.

William Sanders Scarborough

William Sanders Scarborough (photo courtesy of the Rembert E. Stokes Library, Wilberforce University)


William Sanders Scarborough (1852–1926), the son of an enslaved woman and a freedman, was a pathbreaking African American Classical scholar and public intellectual. Scarborough’s scholarship included philological works on Greek and Roman authors, as well as studies of African languages and African American folklore. His First Lessons in Greek (1881) was the first foreign language textbook by an African American author. He taught at Ohio’s Wilberforce University and Payne Theological Seminary, serving as Wilberforce’s president from 1908–1920. He was a cofounder of the American Negro Academy, an active member of the American Philological Association, and an invited member of the Archaeological Institute of America.

At least twice in his life (1886 and 1896), Scarborough hoped to attend the American School, with the encouragement of the School’s Managing Committee. Lack of funding, coupled with his many professional responsibilities, kept Scarborough from realizing his dream of going to Greece.


The William Sanders Scarborough Fellowship is intended to honor Professor Scarborough’s memory and to help foster diversity at the American School by providing support for graduate students, faculty, and independent scholars in North America whose geographic origin, diverse experiences, and socioeconomic background are underrepresented at the School (including persons from the Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color communities), and whose studies, research, or teaching would benefit from residency at the School. Fellowship recipients need not be specialists in the field of Classical Studies. The School welcomes applicants from public and private universities, colleges, and community colleges, and particularly encourages those from Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The Scarborough fellowship is designed with sufficiently flexible terms such that students and scholars can arrange their time in Greece in harmony with whatever other responsibilities they have. The fellowship supports up to three months in residence at the School to carry out proposed research projects and/or join the School’s academic programs (field trips and seminars during the regular academic year or the summer, excavations at the Agora or Corinth, scientific field schools, etc.). Applicants interested in using the fellowship to participate in summer programs should submit separate applications to programs of interest.

The award provides for at least $1,500 per month as a stipend, room and board in Athens, a waiver of School fees, and one roundtrip economy-class airfare to Athens. An official bulletin with more details about how to apply will be posted later this summer.


The initial funding for the William Sanders Scarborough Fellowship is provided by a $10,000 allocation from the School’s Annual Appeal approved by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees on June 8, 2020. Through donations made directly to this fellowship fund, we hope to create an endowment to ensure at least $10,000 is available per year into the foreseeable future. The endowment campaign’s goal is $250,000.

This fellowship is only one small step, but a concrete step, towards a more inclusive future for the School; we hope you will consider contributing as an expression of support for the cause. Donations of any size are welcome. Please click the link below to give today.

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