Historical Marker Dedication: John Wesley Gilbert


May 2, 2024    
10:30 am


Paine College
1235 Fifteenth Street, Augusta, GA, 30901

The Georgia Historical Society will hold a dedication for a new historical marker: John Wesley Gilbert (c.1863 – 1923). The dedication will take place on Thursday, May 2, 2024, at 10:30 a.m., at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia. The event is open to the public.

Location details: The dedication will take place on the Paine College campus, in front of Gilbert-Lambuth Chapel (off Druid Park Avenue). Parking is available in the lot next to the chapel and HEAL Center Complex, or across the street on the main campus in the lot nearest the fence on Druid Park Avenue.

The marker reads:

John Wesley Gilbert (c.1863 – 1923)

John Wesley Gilbert is considered the first African-American archaeologist. Born enslaved near Hephzibah, he was educated in Augusta’s segregated public schools, at Paine Institute (now Paine College), and at Brown University, where he focused on ancient Greek. In 1888, he became Paine College’s first Black faculty member, teaching humanities there until 1919. From 1890-1891, Gilbert represented Brown University in Greece as one of the first 50 Americans and the first African American at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA). With the ASCSA, Gilbert and his colleague John Pickard conducted a pioneering archaeological and topographical survey of the ancient city of Eretria that set a standard for future professional research. Between 1911-1912, Gilbert helped establish a Methodist mission in the Belgian Congo. Gilbert died in 1923 and is buried in Augusta’s Cedar Grove Cemetery.

Erected by the Georgia Historical Society, the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History, Paine College, and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens