Race, Slavery, and Equality

The Newberry Library

The Newberry Library

The Newberry Library

In a speech Frederick Douglass gave often while in England between 1845 and 1847, he spoke of himself as an outlaw and outcast in the land of his birth. Even at home, he declared, "I have no love for America, as such; I have no patriotism. I have no country? What country have I?" The provisional answer Douglass gave in the 1840s was not his final answer and he eventually accepted the United States as his country, but the power of his question inspires us to look deeply into the innermost and fundamental principles of our society. So in this three-day seminar, we will take a hard look--in a joint inquiry with eminent professors as facilitators--at the problem of justice in American statesmanship and political thought.

With an eye on both the timely and centuries-long character of our subject, this summer seminar will examine carefully four fundamental perspectives on race, slavery, and equality: the complex, foundational position of the Founders themselves; the profound rethinking and refounding led by Abraham Lincoln; Herman Melville's poetic account of the passions of the Civil War; and Frederick Douglass' extended meditations on what would make the country worthy of his thoughtful love.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of the Newberry’s professional development programs for teachers, including this summer seminar, will operate virtually via Zoom.

This three-day seminar is free for high school teachers selected to participate. Participants will receive 15 CPDUs upon completion of the seminar. In order to receive 5 CPDUs each day, participants must attend both the morning and afternoon sessions.

Daily Seminar Schedule
9:30am-12pm: Morning Session
12pm-1pm: Lunch Break
1pm-3:30pm: Afternoon Session
Organizer: Dr. Svetozar Minkov (Professor of Philosophy, Roosevelt University)
Moderator: Cate Harriman (Coordinator, Teacher and Student Programs, Newberry Library)

Day 1: Monday, August 10

The Founders

Morning Session: Dr. Peter Myers (Professor of Political Science, University of Wisconsin Eau Claire)

Topic: Slavery and Natural Rights: Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence

Afternoon Session: Dr. Lucas Morel (Professor of Politics, Washington & Lee University)

Topic: Slavery and the Constitution

Day 2: Tuesday, August 11


Morning Session: Dr. Lucas Morel

Topic: Lincoln, Slavery, and Race: The American Way to Secure Freedom

Afternoon Session: Dr. Diana Schaub (Professor of Political Science, Loyola University Maryland)

Topic: Lincoln and Melville

Day 3: Wednesday, August 12

Frederick Douglass

Morning Session: Dr. Nicholas Buccola (Professor of Political Science, Linfield College)

Topic: Frederick Douglass and the Declaration of Independence

Afternoon Session: Dr. Svetozar Minkov

Topic: A discussion of Douglass and human dignity

This seminar is cosponsored by the Jack Miller Center in partnership with the Montesquieu Forum and Harvey L. Miller Founding Civics Initiative.