Indiana State University Newsroom

History professor to speak about African American emancipation

January 29, 2010

A University of North Carolina distinguished professor of American history will visit ISU Feb. 10 to discuss the ramifications of emancipating and arming African Americans during the Civil War.

Professor John David Smith - an expert on the American South, the Civil War, and African American slavery and emancipation - will visit ISU in conjunction with Black History Month.

His lecture, titled "Keeping Your Promises? Abraham Lincoln, Emancipation, and the U.S. Colored Troops," will examine Lincoln's role in shaping the events that led to the involvement of African Americans in the Civil War.

Smith maintains that Lincoln was not merely reacting to events, but that he set about to make emancipation palatable to white northerners, especially residents of the loyal border states.

Smith has lectured in 11 countries, serves on the editorial boards of several journals - including "The Journal of Southern History" - and has authored, edited, or co-edited 20 books. He is also a former Fulbright scholar.

Smith will speak Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Events Area of Cunningham Memorial Library. Admission is free and open to the public.

Writer: Rachel Wedding McClelland, assistant director of media relations, Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University at 812-237-3790 or