On Thursday, April 5, at 6:30 pm, Cornell University historian Edward E. Baptist will deliver the annual Richard D. McKinzie Lecture. His talk, entitled “White Predators, Free States: From the Fugitive Slave Act to George Zimmerman,” will address the history of race relations in the United States since 1856. Baptist is a historian of capitalism and slavery in the United States, and the author of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism and Creating an Old South. His work highlights the central importance of slavery to the economic development of the United States. The discomfort caused by this truth is often alleviated, at least in part, by reference to the Underground Railroad – the network of activists, usually depicted as white, that helped slaves escape to the North. But this narrative obscures the much larger network, backed by the authority of the federal and state governments and supported by the majority of the white population, that existed to hunt escaped slaves and to control the lives of African Americans who lived in so-called free states.
The McKinzie Lecture will take place at the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Public Library, 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, Missouri. The event is free and open to the public, but a reservation is requested through the Kansas City Public Library.
This event is co-presented by UMKC’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion, Center for Midwestern Studies, Bernardin Haskell Lecture Fund, History Department, and High School/College Partnerships program.