Tuesday, April 12, 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War with the first shots fired on Fort Sumter, South Carolina. SMU’s Clements Department of History will observe the date on which the deadliest conflict in the nation’s history began with a Stanton Sharp Lecture by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Steven Hahn.
Hahn will discuss “Why the Civil War Mattered” at 6:30 p.m. in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. The event will begin with a reception at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
How might America have looked had there been no Civil War – or if the war had ended differently? Hahn’s lecture will revisit these issues by reminding us of the power of slaveholders and slavery in antebellum America.
“The legacy of the Civil War and its aftermath is still unfolding in this nation. Issues of race remain current and contentious,” says Sherry L. Smith, professor and acting chair of SMU’s Clements Department of History. “Understanding this war – what was at stake and what changed as a result of it – is critical in coming to terms with race in America.”
Hahn is the Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Professor in American History at the University of Pennsylvania. His latest book, A Nation Under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South, from Slavery to the Great Migration (Harvard University Press, 2005), won the Pulitzer Prize in History, the Bancroft Prize in American History and the Merle Curti Prize in Social History of the Organization of American Historians.
He also is the author of the prize-winning book The Roots of Southern Populism: Yeoman Farmers and the Transformation of the Georgia Upcountry, 1850-1890 (Oxford University Press, 1983).
Written by Denise Gee