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U.S. History Expert to Headline Ohio Wesleyan’s Smith Lecture

March 14, 2007

Ohio Wesleyan University today announced that Richard J. Blackett, Andrew Jackson Professor of American History at Vanderbilt University, will serve as this year’s Richard W. Smith Civil War History lecturer. Blackett will present “Taking Leave: Fugitive Slaves and the Coming of the Civil War” at 7:30 p.m. March 29 in Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave. Free and open to the public, the event also will be streamed at stream.owu.edu.

Blackett, a specialist in U.S. and Caribbean history, focuses his studies particularly on the transatlantic movements that worked to abolish slavery and the resistance to the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law. He is the author of “Divided Hearts: Britain and the American Civil War,” which examines popular reactions to the war in Britain and the impact they had on the struggle for political reform.

Named in honor of an emeritus history professor who started teaching at Ohio Wesleyan in 1950, the Richard W. Smith Lecture hosts annually a national Civil War scholar. Past lecturers in the series, which started in 2002, include Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James M. McPherson of Princeton University and John Y. Simon, Ph.D., executive director of the Ulysses S. Grant Association.

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges, dedicated to preparing students for a lifetime of learning, service, and leadership. Located in Delaware, Ohio, 20 miles north of the state capital, Ohio Wesleyan is a coeducational, residential, privately supported undergraduate institution. The university is ranked consistently by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation’s top 100 liberal arts colleges and is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives.” The faculty includes more than 135 educators, all of whom actively teach and hold either doctoral degrees or the highest recognized professional degrees in their fields. Approximately 1,850 students representing 44 states and 45 countries attend Ohio Wesleyan. More information is available at www.owu.edu.