Southern Studies Center to Welcome Dr. Barbara McCaskill for Talk on William and Ellen Craft and Macon’s Bounty Hunters


MACON – Mercer University's Southern Studies Center will welcome Dr. Barbara McCaskill, associate professor of English at the University of Georgia, to give a talk, titled “City of Men: William and Ellen Craft and Macon's Bounty Hunters, 1850,” on Nov. 20.

The event is free and open to the public and will take place at 7 p.m. in the Medical School Auditorium on the Macon campus.

“Earlier this semester, Dr. William L. Andrews delivered the Lamar Lectures on slave narratives after the Civil War. Dr. Barbara McCaskill's lecture brings the topic directly to Macon,” said Dr. David A. Davis, associate professor of English and director of fellowships and scholarships at Mercer.

“Dr. McCaskill has been studying the fascinating story of two slaves who, out of love for each other and the desire to have a free family, daringly escaped from Macon in broad daylight. When their owner sent bounty hunters to capture them, they fled to England where they wrote their fascinating story, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom. Dr. McCaskill will discuss this important story of love, adventure, slavery and freedom that started here.”

She has a book on the Crafts, titled Love, Liberation, and Escaping Slavery: William and Ellen Craft in Cultural Memory, that is set to by published by the University of Georgia Press in spring 2015.

Dr. McCaskill has taught courses in African American and multicultural American literature at UGA for 22 years. She held the General Sandy Beaver Teaching Professorship from 2005-2008 and received the Martha Munn Bedingfield Excellence in Teaching Award from the Department of English earlier this year. In 2012, she was named the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Society and Culture at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

She is currently co-director of the Civil Rights Library Initiative and Georgia projects co-director of People Not Property, an initiative that seeks to recover deeds and bills of sale of enslaved persons, research the stories they tell and reconnect these ancestors to their descendants and members of contemporary communities.

Dr. McCaskill earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from Emory University. She has published three books – Post-Bellum, Pre-Harlem: African American Literature and Culture, 1877-1919 (New York University Press, 2006); Running 1,000 Miles for Freedom: The Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery (University of Georgia Press, 1999); and Multicultural Literature and Literacies: Making Space for Difference (State University of New York Press, 1993) – in addition to numerous essays for peer-reviewed books and journals. Another book – an annotated edition of the memoir Twice Sold, Twice Ransomed, published in 1926 by the African American evangelist couple Emma and Lloyd P. Ray – has been approved for publication in the West Virginia University Press series Regenerations: African American Literature and Culture.

Kyle is the director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he coordinates hometown and university news releases and serves as editor of the News@Mercer e-newsletter and Reach magazine.​