C-SPAN-3 Airs Owen Lovejoy Lecture from 2012 February Lecture Series

On Saturday, March 17th and Sunday, March 18th, C-SPAN-3 will be airing Philip Magness’s lecture on John Willis Menard from our February Lecture Series commemorating African American History Month. On Saturday, the lecture will be aired at 6:50pm and 10:50pm. On Sunday, the lecture will air at 11:50am. The lecture was presented by the United States Capitol Historical Society in conjunction with the Illinois State Society and the Knox College Alumni Association of Washington, D.C. Please see below for more information on the lecture.

“Emancipation, Emigration, and Revolt: John Willis Menard, the American Civil War, and the Jamaican uprising of 1865”

John Willis Menard was born in Kaskaskia, Illinois, in 1838 to free black parents from New Orleans.  He attended school in Sparta, Illinois, and Iberia College in Ohio, and began a career as an abolitionist newspaper editor in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.  During the Civil War he worked as a clerk in the Department of the Interior and was sent to British Honduras (Belize) in 1863 to investigate a proposed colony for newly freed slaves. At the end of the war he traveled to Jamaica to campaign for political rights among the British colony’s black population. He became involved in the Morant Bay Rebellion of 1865, and escaped to the United States with the help of the U.S. State Department amidst a brutal crackdown by the island’s governor. After the war he settled in New Orleans.

In 1868, Menard was elected to represent Louisiana’s 2nd congressional district in a special election to fill the term of James Mann who had died in office. The election results were challenged by his opponent and after hearing arguments from both candidates, the House decided to seat neither man, but in the process Menard became the first African American to address the chamber.

Dr. Phillip Magness is a policy historian and Academic Program Director at the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University. Magness is the co-author of the critically acclaimed book Colonization after Emancipation: Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement (University of Missouri Press), offering a reexamination of the federal government’s anti-slavery and freedmen’s policies during the American Civil War. He has also written extensively on the history of the federal income tax, the late 19th century free trade movement, and the history of abolitionism. His historical writings have appeared in the Journal of the Early Republic, the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, and Constitutional Political Economy, as well as Britannica.com and the History News Network.