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For Immediate Release

Contact:
Bridget F. Clark
845-398-4020
bclark@stac.edu

ST. THOMAS AQUINAS COLLEGE TO PARTICIPATE IN SEMINAR ON SLAVE NARRATIVES

(SPARKILL, NY – May 5, 2010)— Gerald McCarthy, Professor of English at St. Thomas Aquinas College has been selected to participate in a seminar on Slave Narratives being offered by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and The United Negro College Fund. Twenty-eight participants were selected from more than 100 highly competitive nominations for the seminar, to be held June 13–16 at the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

David W. Blight, Class of 1954 Professor of American History at Yale University will lead the seminar, which will be held for the third year in a row due to high interest in the subject matter among CIC colleges.
 In announcing the selection of participants, CIC President Richard Ekman said, “This seminar provides a great opportunity for participating faculty members to gain a better understanding of the experience of emancipation and the 19th century events that were so important in shaping our world today.”

The seminar will examine the place of slavery and abolition in American history and culture, and participants will discuss the genre of slave narratives through some exemplary texts including biographies and autobiographies. Autobiographies by former slaves were first published in the late 18th century and early 19th centuries and grew in scale as new texts were promoted and printed by the early abolitionist movement in Britain and the United States.

Participants will read both antebellum and postbellum narratives. Before the Civil War approximately 65 narratives were published in English. The pre-emancipation narratives were often serious works of literature focusing squarely on the oppression of slavery. The post-emancipation narratives, of which there are approximately 55 in existence, were more likely to be success stories—triumphs over the past and visions of a more prosperous future. The seminar will cover the most famous pre-war narrative, that of Frederick Douglass, and the most famous post-war narrative, that of Booker T. Washington, as well as narratives from Professor Blight’s recently published book, A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including their Narratives of Emancipation.
           
"I'm excited about the opportunity to participate in the seminar, and about the educational incentives it provides for developing a new course at St. Thomas Aquinas College,” commented McCarthy.

David Blight is also the author of several other books including Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, for which he won the 2001 Frederick Douglass Prize and the 2002 Bancroft and Lincoln Prizes; Beyond the Battlefield: Race, Memory and the Civil War; and Frederick Douglass’ Civil War: Keeping Faith in Jubilee. Blight was elected as a member of the Society of American Historians in 2002. Since 2004 he has served as a member of the board of trustees of the New-York Historical Society and the board for African American Programs at Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia.

For more information, visit the CIC website at www.cic.edu/projects_services/coops/gilder_lehrman.asp.

St. Thomas Aquinas College is an independent liberal arts college located in Sparkill, NY which provides education at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  The College’s 2,700 full and part time students can choose from almost 100 different majors, minors, specializations, and dual degree programs across five divisions: Humanities; Business Administration; Social Sciences; Natural Sciences & Mathematics; and Teacher Education programs. For more information visit www.stac.edu.

The Council of Independent Colleges is an association of more than 600 independent, liberal arts colleges and universities and higher education affiliates and organizations that work together to strengthen college and university leadership, sustain high-quality education, and enhance private higher education’s contributions to society. To fulfill this mission, CIC provides its members with skills, tools, and knowledge that address aspects of leadership, financial management and performance, academic quality, and institutional visibility. The Council is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, founded in 1994, is a nonprofit organization supporting the study and love of American history through a wide range of programs and resources for students, teachers, scholars, and history enthusiasts throughout the nation. The Institute creates and works closely with history-focused schools; organizes summer seminars and development programs for teachers; produces print and digital publications and traveling exhibitions; hosts lectures by eminent historians; administers a History Teacher of the Year Award in every state and U.S. territory; and offers national book prizes and fellowships for scholars to work in the Gilder Lehrman Collection as well as other renowned archives.

 
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St. Thomas Aquinas College
125 Route 340
Sparkill, NY 10976
845.398.4100

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