MTSU expands Strickland Scholars' race, U.S. history talks online for April 8 and 22

Mar 31, 2021 at 02:44 pm by WGNS

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — MTSU is taking advantage of virtual meetings' flexibility by expanding its popular Strickland Visiting Scholar Lecture Series this spring, welcoming multiple public history experts in two special sessions to discuss race in American history.  

The spring 2021 lectures, with a theme of “Diverse Histories for a Diverse Nation,” are planned for Thursday, April 8, and Thursday, April 22. Both are free to the public.

Each talk this spring focuses on discussing the challenges of presenting history with and for a diverse public; how memory and history intersect with the silencing of Black and Indigenous peoples’ pasts; how race, slavery and the Civil War function in American memory; and what role the National Park Service plays in understanding and sharing the past. 

On April 8, historians and anthropologists Kendra Field, Maria Franklin and Nedra Lee are scheduled to discuss “Race, Gender, Indigeneity and the Meaning of Narrative and Excavated Pasts” in a 7 p.m. Central webinar. 

Field is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at Tufts University and the author of “Growing Up with the Country: Family, Race and Nation After the Civil War.”  

Franklin is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin and a historic archaeologist of the Black experience from the colonial period to the early 20th century.  

Lee is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Boston and a historic archaeologist specializing in the African diaspora, gender, critical race studies and processes of racial formation during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

The April 22 webinar, set at 7 p.m. Central, features former National Park Service chief historian and author Dwight Pitcaithley; Rolf Diamant, former superintendent of the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site; and Bill Gwaltney, a former assistant regional director for the park service's eight-state Intermountain Region, discussing "Abolition, Secession and the Interpretation of Diverse Histories at the National Park Service." 

Pitcaithley is the author of “The U.S. Constitution and Secession: A Documentary Anthology of Slavery and White Supremacy.” Diamant is the co-author of the upcoming “Olmsted and Yosemite: Civil War, Abolition, and The National Park Idea.” Gwaltney has worked with the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the American Battle Monuments Commission. 

MTSU’s Martha Norkunas, a professor of oral and public history in the Department of History’s Public History Program, will host the free public discussions. Lee will join her as host for the April 22 webinar. 

MTSU public history alumnus Brad Wright, who teaches history at Colorado Mesa University and Cumberland University, will moderate and share questions during the webinars. 

The MTSU Public History Program offers both master’s degrees and doctoral degrees for students who want to understand, interpret and share history in the public realm. Specialties include historic preservation and cultural resource management, museum management, archival management, oral history and public archaeology. 

MTSU's Department of History in the College of Liberal Arts sponsors the Strickland Lecture series visits each semester. The Strickland Visiting Scholar Program allows MTSU students to meet with renowned scholars whose expertise spans a variety of historical issues.  

The Strickland family established the program in memory of Roscoe Lee Strickland Jr., a longtime professor of European history at MTSU and the first president of the university’s Faculty Senate. 

Join In and be a Part of the Events: 

- Audience members for the April 8 discussion can join in at or via a link at the Strickland Scholars page,

- Audience members for the April 22 event can join in at or via a link at the Strickland Scholars page.

- For more information about these special events, please contact MTSU’s Department of History at 615-898-5798 or visit

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