Conference Commemorates Sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation

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Portrait of a Washerwoman for the Union Army in Richmond, Virginia with an American flag pinned to dress
Save The Date: Feb. 16, 2013: 2013 Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series

The 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation will be brought into sharp focus at the 2013 Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series, Emancipation and the Work of Freedom, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, at the Paul Robeson Campus Center on the Rutgers University’s Newark Campus, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.  

New Jersey’s largest and most prestigious conference commemorating Black History Month celebrates its 33rd anniversary next year. The 2013 MTW conference will explore the ways in which Emancipation immediately impacted enslaved African Americans and, crucially, how the enslaved worked to free themselves.

The proceedings will also investigate freedom’s wide-ranging impact on the nation at the time of Emancipation, as well as its legacy through the present. The daylong conference features award-winning historians James Oakes (CUNY Graduate Center), Thavolia Gymph (Duke University), Steven Hahn (University of Pennsylvania), and Tera Hunter (Princeton University).

Immediately following the MTW conference, the audience is invited to attend a free reception at the Newark Museum and to participate in guided tours of the Museum’s Emancipation-related artworks beginning at 3:30 p.m. 

The reception will feature live musical entertainment by The Bradford Hayes Trio. 

Both the MTW conference and museum reception are free and open to the public.

The lecture series was co-founded in 1981 by Dr. Clement Price, Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor of History at Rutgers University, and the late Giles R. Wright, New Jersey Historical Commission. Over the past 32 years, the conference has drawn thousands of people to the Rutgers-Newark campus and has attracted some of the nation’s foremost scholars and humanists who are experts in the field of African and African American history and culture. It has become one of the nation's leading scholarly programs specifically devoted to enhancing the historical literacy of an intercultural community.

The annual conference was named for East Orange native Dr. Marion Thompson Wright, a pioneer in African American historiography and race relations in New Jersey, who was the first professionally trained woman historian in the United States.

**Photo: Portrait of a Washerwoman for the Union Army in Richmond, Virginia with an American flag pinned to dress
Photographer: Unknown
Ca. 1862-65, Ambrotype
Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution, Photographic History Collection, Division of Information Technology and Communications, National Museum of American History

The Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series is sponsored by the Rutgers Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience; the Federated Department of History, Rutgers-Newark and the New Jersey Institute of Technology; and the New Jersey Historical Commission/Department of State. The 2013 conference receives additional support from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities and The Prudential Foundation.

For additional information about the program, visit the Institute’s website at:, or contact the Rutgers Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience, 973/353-3891.