Snowden was born July 17, 1911 in York County, Virginia. He earned his undergraduate, master’s, and doctorial degrees from Harvard University in 1932, 1933 and 1944, respectively. Snowden taught classics at Georgetown University, Vassar College, Mary Washington College, and was Professor Emeritus of Classics at Howard University.
Snowden documented that blacks were able to co-exist with the Greeks and Romans because they were considered equals. He authored several books, including “Blacks in Antiquity: Ethiopians in the Greco – Roman Experience” (1970) and “Before Color Prejudice: The Ancient View of Blacks” (1983). Snowden was fluent in Latin, Greek, German, French, and Italian.
In 1953, he was named cultural attaché at the United States Embassy to Rome. In 2003, Snowden was honored at the White House as a recipient of the National Humanities Medal.