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Mercer Co-Sponsors Lecture Series with Tubman Museum and Georgia Humanities Council


March 26, 2008

The Tubman Museum
(478) 743-8544
Mercer University’s Africana Studies Program
(478) 301-2562

Media Contact:
Mark Vanderhoek
Mercer University
(478) 301-4037

MACON — The Tubman African American Museum, in partnership with Mercer University and the Georgia Humanities Council, is bringing five scholars from around the country to lecture about five black leaders from Central Georgia who helped to shape the post-Civil War South. The event is the 2008 edition of the Ellen Craft Memorial Lecture Series and is entitled “The Rise of Prominent National African-American Leaders in Macon from Reconstruction to the 20th Century.” It will take place March 28 and 29 at Mercer University’s Macon campus.

All events are free and open to the public.

The intent of this program is to share and deepen knowledge about local black historical heroes who made major contributions to the nation’s culture, politics and education during the Reconstruction Period. Macon’s musical heritage is known worldwide.  However, local historical black achievements in other humanities areas are less well known.  Some of these leaders have received little attention.  The black leaders being spotlighted are inspirational role models for young people today, holding lessons of sacrifice, courage, perseverance and achievement.  The Tubman and its partners hope that this program will spark an interest in further study of local history and culture and increase visits to and interest in the Tubman Museum and its collections and programs.

The lectures will focus on five black leaders who lived in and around Macon before the Civil War and during Reconstruction. They include:
· Jefferson Franklin Long (1836-1901), who was Georgia's first African American congressman and the first African American to speak on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
· Lucy Craft Laney (1854-1933), who was the founder and principal of the Haines Institute in Augusta for 50 years. She is Georgia's most famous female African American educator.
· William and Ellen Craft (1824-1900; 1826-1891) were slaves from Macon who gained celebrity after a daring, novel, and very public escape in December 1848, later joining the antislavery lecture circuit.
· Henry McNeal Turner (1834-1915), who was one of the most influential black leaders in late-19th-Century Georgia. Turner was a pioneering church organizer and missionary for the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Georgia, later rising to the rank of bishop.
· William Sanders Scarborough (1852-1926), who is generally thought to be the first African American classical scholar. Scarborough served as president of Wilberforce University between 1908 and 1920 after having been born into slavery. Scarborough was the first black member of the Modern Language Association and the third black member of the American Philological Association. The Modern Language Association has named a first-book prize in his honor. In 1921, President Harding appointed Scarborough to a position in the United States Department of Agriculture, which he occupied until his death.

Program Schedule
For more information, contact the Tubman Museum at (478) 743-8544 or the Mercer University’s Africana Studies Program at (478) 301-2562.

Friday, March 28

Reception 6:30-7 p.m., Mercer University Medical School Auditorium

Keynote Lecture 7-8:30 p.m., Mercer University Medical School Auditorium
Presented by Michele Ronnick of Wayne State University in Detroit with a focus on William Sanders Scarborough.

Saturday, March 29

Bus Tour 10-11:30 a.m. (Attendees must preregister for this event) 
Special Guided Trolley Tour of Macon sites pertaining to these leaders. Meet at 9:30am in front of the Mercer Medical School Auditorium.
Call the Tubman Museum (478) 743-8544 for tour reservations

Lectures and Panel Discussion, 1-3 p.m. and 3:30-5:30 p.m., Mercer University Medical School Auditorium

Lucy Craft Laney by Kent Anderson Leslie, retired professor from Agnes Scott College in Decatur who is writing a biography of Laney.

Henry McNeal Turner by Stephen Ward Angell, professor at Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Ind. and author of the book “Bishop Henry McNeal Turner and African-American Religion in the South.”

William and Ellen Craft by Barbara McCaskill, an associate professor of English at the University of Georgia where she teaches Ethnic-American Literature and conducts research on 19th and early 20th century African-American Literature.  She has published a number of essays on the Crafts and an edition of their narrative, “Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom.”

Jefferson Long by Grace Hardwick, recipient of a Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board Award for Excellence in Student Research Using Historical Records, Undergraduate Level, for her thesis at Clayton State University on Jefferson Long.  Now living in Texas, Hardwick uncovered new and forgotten information about Long and plans to pursue a master’s degree in public history.

Panel Discussion:
Moderated by Chester Fontenot Jr., director of the Africana Studies Department at Mercer University

About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah; three regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial Health University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit
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