Back to All Events

FREE SCHOOL : Slavery in American History and Memory

  • Aliʻiōlani Hale 417 South King Street Honolulu, HI, 96813 United States (map)

If it’s so Hard, Why Talk About It? Slavery in American History and Memory

WHO : Lois E. Horton, Professor of History Emerita, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
WHEN : Thursday, November 16, 5:30-7:00 pm
WHERE :  Aliʻiōlani Hale, 417 South King

Dr. Lois E. Horton holds an MS degree in Psychology from the University of Hawaiʻi and a PhD in Social Policy from the Heller School at Brandeis University. She has taught sociology and history, has been a visiting professor of American Studies at the University of Munich and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and held the John Adams Distinguished Fulbright Chair in American History at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands in 2003.

Professor Horton’s work on African American communities, race, gender and social change has been published in the U.S. and Europe. She has authored and edited nine books, many with historian James O. Horton, including Slavery and the Making of America, the companion book for a 2004 WNET PBS series, and her most recent book is Harriet Tubman and the Fight for Freedom: A Short History with Documents. Two generations of scholarship in recent African American History have shed new light on the nation’s past.

Understanding the problems of present-day society requires knowledge and understanding of that past, particularly of the long history of American slavery—often called America’s original sin. Americans see optimism and hope, a belief in justice and equality, as their national heritage. Yet, slavery continues to haunt this heritage. Racial slavery contradicted the nation’s founding principles, and rationalizations attempted to reconcile this fundamental contradiction by asserting that enslaved people were racially inferior and dangerous. Today, conflicts over Confederate memorials, the Black Lives Matter Movement, mass incarceration, and economic inequality show how those rationalizations still have consequences for the present and future of justice in America. 

RSVP @ 539-4995 or If you require accommodation for disability, contact 539-4999.
This lecture is part of a larger program titled, In Honor of James Oliver Horton: Addressing the “Tough Stuff” of American History and Memory, November 16-18, 2017.  11/16-17 are free and open to the public. See

Presented by the Judiciary History Center, Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities, Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program, the Department of American Studies at the University of Hawai‘i, and the National Endowment for the Humanities Legacy of Race Initiative/ 

Earlier Event: November 16
Later Event: November 21