Series of Conversations on “The United States Constitution: A 226-Year Journey to ‘Secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and Our Posterity’”

Three Events Scheduled for Sept. 12, 13, and 17

WILSON, N.C. — Barton College and the Willis N. Hackney Library is pleased to announce a Series of Conversations on “The United States Constitution: A 226-Year Journey to ‘Secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and Our Posterity’” to be held Thursday, Sept. 12; Friday, Sept, 13; and Tuesday, Sept. 17. These three events are co-sponsored by the Barton College Friends of Hackney Library, the Wilson County Historical Association, and the Oliver Nestus Freeman Round House Museum of African American History.

On Thursday, Sept. 12, Dr. Charles McKinney, Jr., associate professor of history and director of the African American Studies Program at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., will deliver a lecture on his book “Greater Freedom: the Evolution of the Civil Rights Struggle in Wilson, North Carolina” during a reception and book signing from 4 pm. – 6 p.m. Dr. McKinney’s lecture will begin at 5 p.m. Books will be available for purchase during the event. “I’ve been fascinated by the under-researched phenomenon of mass-based protest and community struggle that takes place far removed from the urban centers of the South,” shared Dr. McKinney. “It’s one thing to march, organize and boycott under the glare of city lights and press cameras. It’s quite another thing to march, organize and boycott in areas that major networks have never heard of and will likely never seek to find. The rules of engagement change significantly in this instance. To put it another way: whom do you call when the people shooting into your house at night are deputy sheriff’s officers?”

On Friday, Sept. 13, Dr. McKinney and several participants from previous interviews he conducted as part of his research for his book, “Greater Freedom,” will be available from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Oliver Nestus Freeman Roundhouse Museum of African American History at 1202 East Nash Street to recall their memories of the Civil Rights movement in Wilson and to answer questions. The event will be a homecoming and celebration of these pioneers and Dr. McKinney’s book, with barbecue and fried fish for sale. The Freeman Museum exists “. . . to preserve, promote, and present African-American history, art, and culture to all citizens of Wilson and the region in order to increase the awareness, understanding, and appreciation of cultural traditions and African-American contributions to society.”

The third program in this Conversation Series, a reception and presentation, will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 17, from 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. at the Willis N. Hackney Library on the Barton campus. In commemoration of Constitution Day, the featured speaker will be Dr. John L. Godwin, history instructor at Campbell University, presenting his research and leading a discussion on “The Compromise of 1787: Perspectives on the American Revolution and the Founders of the Republic.” Dr. Godwin’s presentation will reflect on the impact of historian Charles A. Beard’s seminal work “An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States” on the 100th anniversary of its publication. Dr. Godwin will argue that, while the framers of the Constitution did establish the legality of slavery in the new republic, they also consciously planted the seeds of its destruction. Godwin writes: “. . the Constitution laid the foundation for a republic of liberty that would one day throw off slavery’s chains and start the nation toward the more dynamic democracy of the twentieth century. It was what Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Madison, called ‘a living constitution’—one that could be shaped to meet the needs of the people through future generations.”

The reception will begin at 5:30 pm., and Dr. Godwin’s presentation will begin at 6 p.m. A facilitated discussion will follow.

For additional information about these events, please call 252-399-6500.