White Predators, Free States: From the Fugitive Slave Act to George Zimmerman

Ed Baptist
Richard D. McKinzie Lecture
Cornell University historian Ed Baptist traces much of what has happened with race relations in the U.S. in the past 150 years to efforts to control the movement and life of slaves who had escaped to so-called free states in the mid-19th century. The federal and state governments joined the broader white population in hunting black people down.
Thursday, April 5, 2018
6:30 pm
Event Audio

The Underground Railroad can lend a degree of comfort as we look back on our nation’s troubled racial history, knowing there was a network of activists–usually depicted as white–that helped African-Americans escape the slave South to the North. But the federal government, state governments, and the broader white population built an even bigger network at the time for hunting black people to control their movement and life in so-called free states.

That, says Cornell University historian Ed Baptist, helps explain much of what has happened in regard to race relations in the U.S. since 1865. Baptist discusses that dynamic in the latest Richard D. McKinzie Lecture, co-presented by the UMKC Division of Diversity and Inclusion and UMKC’s Center for Midwestern Studies, Bernardin Haskell Lecture Fund, History Department, and High School/College Partnerships program.