News & Events

UMPI History Club offers presentation to mark Black History Month

The University of Maine at Presque Isle will offer a special presentation during Black History Month when UMPI Professor of History Dr. John Zaborney delivers a talk titled The Origins, Development, and Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1600s-1865 on Thursday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center. This talk, presented by the UMPI History Club, is free and open to the public.

Dr. Zaborney’s talk—a lecture-style presentation that will include some first-person accounts—will focus on African slavery in the United States. According to Dr. Zaborney, it emerged during the 17th century when the forced labor of other groups became unsustainable. By the early 1700s, slavery was legal throughout the British North American mainland colonies which became the United States. Slavery always was most widespread in the South, however, where it survived the American Revolution, expanded westward, and became the central cause of the Civil War.

According to the History Club, while the Emancipation Proclamation declaring slaves free during the Civil War is what many think of in terms of the elimination of slavery, it was actually a planned, coordinated, and ongoing goal. Specifically, Republicans had opposed slavery in the United States prior to the Civil War, and the beginning of the war gave them the opportunity to continue and widen their assault against it legally with the aid of military force and slaves themselves.  While the Civil War still raged, Republicans in Congress passed the 13th Amendment to the Constitution eradicating slavery in the United States, and the Amendment was ratified following the South’s military defeat in 1865.

“This presentation is taking place to commemorate the African American heritage and History Month,” Evan Zarkadas, UMPI History Club President, said. “We think that events like these increase the public knowledge and help in the correct teaching of history.”

The mission of the UMPI History Club is to create an environment on campus that provides activities, information, and recognition for historical events and other social issues. The club is one of the newest at UMPI and the first history club to ever be active on campus. Composed of a group of students that have a passion for history and knowledge outside of the classroom, the club is trying not only to focus on issues it finds compelling, but also to spread the knowledge to the rest of the community and campus.

“We hope people will come to this event and listen to the presentation, because it will be our club’s first presentation open to the public and because the topic discussed will be on a theme that is connected to current events and the true history of slavery,” Zarkadas said. “It will be a great way to remember and honor the memory of African American History.”

For more information about this presentation, email umpi@maine.edu.