Public Lecture on Relationships between U.S. Presidents and Afro-Americans


On October 10, Monday, 1.15 p. m., at the Faculty of Political Science and Diplomacy (Gedimino g. 44), room 203, Eric Freedman, JD, a  Fulbright Scholar in the Department of Public Communications at VMU and associate professor of Journalism at Michigan State University, will deliver the public lecture "Black & White and the White House: Race, the Presidency and Barack Obama’s Victory".

The relationships between U.S. presidents and African Americans have been varied and complex since the early days of the nation’s independence more than 200 years ago. Often these relationships focused on public policy, such as slavery, segregation, racial violence and equal opportunity. Some relationships had personal elements as well, such as Abraham Lincoln’s meetings with Frederick Douglass, a former slave who became a respected educator and leader of the anti-slavery movement, and John F. Kennedy’s phone call of support to Coretta Scott King when her husband, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., was in jail.

Professor Freedman’s lecture will explore some of these relationships – both public policy and personal – and how they contributed to the election of Barack Obama – the son of a Kenyan immigrant and a white American mother – as the nation’s first African American president.

Eric Freedman, JD, is a  Fulbright Scholar in the Dept. of Public Communications at Vytautas Magnus University and associate professor of Journalism at Michigan State University, where he teaches public affairs reporting and media law. Before joining the faculty full-time, he spent 20 years as a newspaper reporter in New York and Michigan covering public affairs, legal affairs and public policy issues. He is co-author of a book to be published this fall: Presidents and Black America: A Documentary History.

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