Historian Dr. Robert Orr will deliver free lectures on the civil rights movement in East Tennessee on four consecutive Tuesdays in April at Tusculum College.
Orr will focus on the time period from 1780 to the 1960s, examining the United States civil rights movement, beginning with its founding in the churches and schools of colonial America, through emancipation in the 1860, through the founding of the NAACP in 1909, to the victories of the 1960s.
The movement never stopped according to Orr, and East Tennessee was often in the forefront of the struggle.
Orr teaches history at Walters State Community College and Washington College Academy, and he was a guest historian on the C-Span American Presidents Series television program on Andrew Johnson.
He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Tennessee and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Maine.
The lectures will be held classroom 112 of the Thomas J. Garland Library from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 9, 16, 23 and 30.
The April 9 session will focus on 1780 to the Civil War, and will cover such topics as abolitionist Samuel Doak and his students and the East Tennessee anti-slavery movement.
Also discussed will be the driving of the anti-slavery movement underground in the repression of the 1830s, the underground railroad in East Tennessee and the underground railroad as a cause of the Civil War.
The April 16 lecture will focus on the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln and civil rights, the victory of emancipation, the vice presidency of Andrew Johnson and Lincoln’s reconstruction plans.
On April 23, the lecture will focus on reconstruction, the founding of the NAACP, the Andrew Johnson presidency, the end of military reconstruction, the 1875 Civil Rights Law being declared unconstitutional, the late 19th century crime wave and lynching at the turn of the century.
The final lecture, on April 30, will cover the conflict of Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Dubois, the reconciliation of 1915-16, the struggle against lynching and the modern Civil Rights Movement.
The lecture series is sponsored jointly by Washington College Academy and Tusculum College. It is also approved as an arts and lecture credit event for Tusculum College residential students.