September 23, 2002

Contact: Sarah Ray
Posted: Sept. 23, 2002

Author and historian James Horton to give lecture on “The Critical Decade: Race, Violence and the Coming of the Civil War” Oct. 4MIDDLEBURY, VT - Author and historian James Oliver Horton will give a lecture titled “The Critical Decade: Race, Violence and the Coming of the Civil War” at Middlebury College on Friday, Oct. 4, at 8 p.m.

Horton is the Benjamin Banneker Professor of American Studies and History at George Washington University and director of the Afro-American Communities Project at the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution. Horton’s talk is the College’s 28th annual Charles S. Grant Memorial Lecture and will take place in Mead Chapel on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125). The lecture is free and open to the public.

Horton has served as historical adviser to the Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the National Civil Rights Museum, Colonial Williamsburg, and Monticello. President Clinton appointed him to serve on the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. He has been historical consultant to numerous film and video productions, including those that have aired on the television and cable networks ABC, PBS, C-SPAN, the Discovery Channel and the History Channel.

Horton is also the author of many books, including “Free People of Color” (1993) and “Hard Road to Freedom: The Story of African America” (2001). He is the co-author, with Lois E. Horton, of “In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Protest, and Community Among Northern Free Blacks, 1700-1860” (1997). Last winter he was host of the television special, “A Fragile Freedom: African American Historic Sites,” based on his forthcoming book, “The Landmarks of African American History,” which will be published by Oxford University Press in 2003.

Horton received his doctorate from Brandeis University. In 1988-89, he was Senior Fulbright Professor of American Studies at the University of Munich, and he has lectured throughout Europe and in Thailand and Japan. In 1993, former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt appointed Horton to serve on the National Park System Advisory Board, and he was elected board chair in 1996. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Salzburg Seminar, based in Middlebury and Salzburg, Austria. Horton will assume the presidency of the Organization of American Historians in 2004.

The late Charles S. Grant was a gifted and much loved teacher and esteemed scholar at Middlebury College in the 1950s until his untimely death in 1961. Shortly thereafter, several of his colleagues and friends in the Middlebury community formed a committee and created a fund that became large enough to establish an annual lectureship in American history as a tribute to him. Many of the most prominent American historians of the past 35 years have delivered Grant lectures. Previous speakers range from David McCullough, author of the best-selling biography “John Adams,” to Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., who served from 1961-1963 as special assistant to President John F. Kennedy.

For more information, contact Travis Jacobs of the Middlebury College history department at 802-443-5315.