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William Leo Hansberry Society

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Promoting diversity & inclusion

We are a scholarly organization dedicated to making the study of ancient Nile Valley and Northeast African cultures more inclusive to scholars of African descent.

Born on February 25, 1894 in Gloster, Mississippi, William Leo Hansberry developed an early interest in ancient history. Hansberry would become one of the first African American students at Harvard University, completing an A.B. and M.A. in Anthropology. After graduating, he taught courses in Howard University’s History Department such as “Negro Peoples in the Cultures and Civilizations of Prehistoric and Proto-historic Times,” “Ancient Civilizations of Ethiopia” and The Civilizations of West Africa in Medieval and Early Modern Times,” in the 1920s at a moment when many ‘scholars’ were arguing that Africa had no history worthy of scholarly investigation.

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