The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum of Lincoln Memorial University invites all who may be interseted to attend the annual Dr. Robert L. Kincaid Lecture Series, this year featuring Dr. Paul Harvey of the University of Colorado.
The lecture series is divided into two sessions:
• 11 a.m.: 45 minute presentation on this theme for students, staff and faculty at LMU who have a shorter time for attending lectures.
• 7 p.m.: Full presentation with Q and A and reception at the Museum.
11:00am Kincaid Lecture
African American Politics and the Judeo-Christian Tradition: From Abolitionism to the Alt-Right
45 minute presentation on this theme for students, staff and faculty at LMU who have a shorter time for attending lectures.
Dr. Paul Harvey examines how a select group of African Americans deployed, wrestled with, argued with, and transformed the Christian tradition, using seven contrasting figures from the early nineteenth century to 2017. From the 19th century, Dr. Harvey explores the lives of Frederick Douglass and Henry McNeal Turner, who experienced and commented upon the most dramatic developments of that century. From the early twentieth century, Dr. Harvey looks at the activism of W. E. B. Du Bois, a contradictory figure who wrote beautifully on religion but who was not personally religious. For the later twentieth century, Dr. Harvey turns his attention to the well-known contrasting figures of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, who ultimately were not quite so far apart as many have assumed. Finally, for the 21st century, Dr. Harvey surveys the work of William Barber, the heir to the King tradition, and Ta Nahesi Coates, the heir to the skeptical Du Boisian tradition. In each case, the dialogue between the people – or the dialogue implicitly contained in their own writing in the case of DuBois -- exemplifies the ways in which African Americans have grappled with the deep complexities of how the Christian tradition actually operated historically in the United States from the era of abolitionism to the contemporary rise of white nationalism.
7:00pm Kincaid Lecture
Full presentation with Q and A and reception at the Museum
African Americans had a tortured relationship with “the Christian religion” in the 19th century. It could be both their savior and their tormentor. They appealed to the “true principles” of Christianity as opposed to the false preaching of pro-slavery advocates. The entire cosmology of nineteenth-century Christianity was racialized, yet the same time, Christianity provided a venue both necessary and sufficient to critique American slavery, racism, and the political structures that lay under each. Hence the paradox of African American politics and the tradition that we now call Judeo-Christian, the same paradox which Frederick Douglass so brilliantly explored in his Fourth of July address in 1852.
This lectures explores how a select group of African Americans deployed, wrestled with, argued with, and transformed the Christian tradition, “”the Christian religion," extending from slaves in the Deep South to those highly educated free blacks and missionaries in the North. They debated the relationship between “the Christian religion” and the political issues of the mid-19th century. For example, could the Prince of Peace support a violent war against slavery? Likewise, could a principled anti-slavery Christian support a Constitution whose very structure helped to preserve a proslavery Republic?
Reception and book signing after the Q & A Session
About Dr. Paul Harvey
Paul Harvey (Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 1992) is Professor of History and Presidential Teaching Scholar at UCCS. He researches, writes, and teaches in the field of American history from the 16th century to the present. Harvey is the creator and “blogmeister” of the nationally known professional scholarly blog Religion in American History, and is a contributor to the online journal Religion Dispatches. He is the author/editor of eleven books and numerous articles.
Most recently, Paul Harvey is the author of Christianity and Race in the American South: A History (University of Chicago Press, 2016), and Bounds of Their Habitation: Religion and Race in American History (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017). Professor Harvey's recent co-authored book The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America, was named a "Top 25 Outstanding Academic Title" by Choice magazine in 2013, an award selected from among the several thousand academic books published in the previous year.
About the Robert L. Kincaid Lecture Series
The Dr. Robert L. Kincaid Endowed Research Center promotes the scholarly study and public understanding of the influence created by the Judeo-Christian Ethic upon the era and the legacy of Abraham Lincoln.