Dr. Paul Finkelman
President – Gratz College
American Legal Historian
Paul Finkelman currently holds the Fulbright Research Chair in Human Rights and Social Justice at the University of Ottawa College of Law. He is also the John E. Murray Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He received his BA in American studies from Syracuse University (1971), his MA and PhD in U.S. history from the University of Chicago (1972, 1976), and was a fellow in law and humanities at Harvard Law School (1982–83). In January 2018 Harvard University Press will publish his next book: Supreme Injustice: Slavery in the Nation’s Highest Court. The Supreme Court of the United States has cited him four times in cases involving religious liberty, affirmative action, and the origins of the Second Amendment. He is the author of about two hundred scholarly articles and the author or editor of more than forty books. His articles have appeared in many major law reviews, including Harvard, Stanford, University of Chicago, Michigan, Penn, Cornell, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, and Supreme Court Review. His op-eds have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today, Newsday, the Baltimore Sun, and other papers, as well as on number web based services such as Huffington Post, the New York Times.Com, and TheRoot.com. He has appeared on numerous programs on PBS, C-Span, the History Channel, CBS, NBC, and Canadian TV.
For all of 2016 he held the Ariel F. Sallows Chair in Human Rights at the University of Saskatchewan, in Canada. In 2012 he was the John Hope Franklin Visiting Professor of American Legal History at Duke Law School, and in 2014 he was the Justice Pike Hall, Jr. Visiting Professor at LSU Law School. He has also held chairs at Albany Law School, the University of Tulsa College of Law, the University of Akron School of Law, Cleveland State University Law School, and the University of Miami. In 2008 he gave the Nathan Huggins Lectures at the W.E.B. DuBois Center for African American Studies at Harvard University. In 2014 he spoke at the United Nations on issues of human trafficking. He is an expert in areas such as constitutional law, the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, race and the law, the law of slavery, and legal issues surrounding baseball. Professor Finkelman was the chief expert witness in the Alabama Ten Commandments monument case and in the lawsuit over who owned Barry Bonds 73rd home run ball.
Dr. Jon Hale
University of South Carolina, College of Charleston
Associate Professor – Educational History
Dr. Jon Hale is an associate professor of educational history at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. In the fall, he will be moving to the University of South Carolina. His research focuses on the history of student and teacher activism, grassroots educational programs, and segregated high schools during the civil rights movement. His award-winning book, The Freedom Schools: A History of Student Activists on the Frontlines of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement (Columbia University Press, 2016) examines the role of educational activism during the Civil Rights Movement. He is a co-editor of The Freedom School Newspapers: Writings, Essays and Reports from Student Activists During the Civil Rights Movement, (University Press of Mississippi, 2015). His research has also been published in history and education journals, including the Journal of African American History, the History of Education Quarterly, The Journal of Southern History, South Carolina Historical Magazine, and the Journal of Social Studies Research.
Dr. Hale currently serves as the executive director of the Charleston Freedom School, co-director of the Quality Education Project, co-director and co-founder of the Charleston Civil Rights Film Fest, and a faculty advisor to student chapters of the South Carolina Education Association.
Dr. Martha S. Jones
Johns Hopkins University
Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and Professor of History
Professor Jones is a legal and cultural historian whose interests include the study of race, law, citizenship, slavery, and the rights of women. She holds a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University and a J.D. from the CUNY School of Law. Prior to joining the Michigan faculty, she was a public interest litigator in New York City and a Charles H. Revson Fellow on the Future of the City of New York at Columbia University. She came from the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts the University of Michigan where she was a Presidential Bicentennial Professor, Professor of history and Afroamerican and African Studies. She was a founding director of the Michigan Law School Program in Race, Law & History and a senior fellow in the Michigan Society of Fellows.
Professor Jones is the author of All Bound Up Together: The Woman Question in African American Public Culture 1830-1900 (University of North Carolina Press, 2007) and Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America (forthcoming from Cambridge University Press in 2018) and a coeditor of Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women (University of North Carolina Press, 2015), together with many important articles and essays. Her work includes the curatorship of museum exhibitions, including “Reframing the Color Line” and “Proclaiming Emancipation” in conjunction with the William L. Clements Library. Professor Jones’s essays and commentary have appeared in the Washington Post, the Chronicle of Higher Education, CNN, and the Detroit Free Press, among other news outlets.
Dr. Paula McAvoy
University of Wisconsin-Madison, North Carolina State University
Director – The Discussion Project
Program Director for the Center for Ethics and Education
Dr. Paula McAvoy is the Director of The Discussion Project at UW-Madison’s School of Education and program director for the Center for Ethics and Education. Before earning her PhD from UW-Madison’s Department of Educational Policy Studies, she taught high school social studies and English for ten years. Her research focuses on the relationship between schools and democratic society, what students learn from classroom discussions, and the ethics of bringing politics into the classroom. She is the co-author, with Diana Hess, of The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education (Routledge, 2015), winner of the 2016 AERA Outstanding Book Award and the 2017 Grawemeyer Award for Education. This book is based on research that investigated what students experience and learn from high school courses that engage students in political discussions. In the fall she will become a faculty member at North Carolina State University.
Dr. Stephen Middleton
Mississippi State University
Professor of History, Emeritus
Stephen Middleton is a professional historian specializing in the constitutional and legal development of the United States. A South Carolina native, he graduated cum laude with a degree in history from Morris College in Sumter. He wrote his senior thesis on the Dred Scott Decision. The Ohio State University gave him a fellowship and he graduated with a master’s degree in African American History. He wrote his thesis about South Carolina during Reconstruction. Miami University (Ohio) awarded him a fellowship, and he completed the doctorate in constitutional history. Later, New York University School of Law gave him a Samuel I. Golieb Fellowship in Legal History. He simultaneously completed the first year curriculum in law. He began his teaching career at Wilberforce University (Ohio) and has taught at the University of Cincinnati, and North Carolina State University where he earned tenure in the Department of History. He is currently a Professor of History at Mississippi State University.
Middleton is an active scholar and has written and edited books, articles, and reviews. Garland Press published his dissertation on the antislavery law practice of Salmon Portland Chase. Greenwood/Praeger published his edited books: The Black Laws in the Old Northwest and Black Congressmen during Reconstruction. Ohio University Press published The Black Laws: Race and the Legal Process in Early Ohio. The University Press of Mississippi will publish his co-edited work on The Construction of Whiteness in 2016. Middleton is currently working on a biography Judge Robert Heberton Terrell—the first African American appointed a judge by a U.S. president. Terrell served in the Municipal Court of the District of Columbia. Middleton’s articles appear in Queen City Heritage, Filson Club Historical Quarterly, and Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Book chapters and shorter works appear in Freedom’s Conditions in the U.S.-Canadian Borderlands in the Age of Emancipation, History in Dispute, Historic World Leaders, African American Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of African-American Civil Rights. He lectures widely in the United States and abroad, including Cambridge University, Keele University, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and Wilmington College and Oberlin College in Ohio. He presented papers at the British Legal History Association, the British Association of American Studies, Southern Historical Association, and the American Society for Legal History.
Dr. Bernard Powers
College of Charleston
Professor – History