Dr. J. Michael Rhyne will lecture on the topic “The Negroes Are No Longer Slaves’: The Problem of Freedom in Post-Emancipation Kentucky” on Thursday, Feb. 4 at noon in the Urbana University Swedenborg Memorial Library, 579 College Way, Urbana. The event and parking are free.
Rhyne’s research has identified the difficulties faced by freed slaves in Kentucky in the first months and years after emancipation. He says, “There were many attempts to limit emancipation. These were powerfully reinforced by organized violence and constituted a concerted effort to maintain black subordination, thereby denying former slaves the free and potentially equal status they desired, expected, and demanded.”
Rhyne, Associate Professor of History at Urbana University, holds a doctorate in history from the University of Cincinnati, where his major area of concentration was American history. He teaches survey courses in U.S. history, U.S. Social & Cultural history and U.S. Women’s history at Urbana University. He recently received the Richard H. Collins Award for the most outstanding contribution to Kentucky history recognizing his article, “‘A Blood Stained Sin’: Slavery, Freedom, and Guerrilla Warfare in the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky, 1863-65.” Alongside his teaching duties, Rhyne has participated in numerous public history programs as project director, commentator, or invited lecturer.
Rhyne will describe the self-proclaimed “Negro Regulators” who imposed a reign of terror against former slaves. His research shows that families – sometimes with male heads of household, sometimes not – faced significant hurdles as they sought to establish autonomous lives and that freed people expressed massive frustration with the Kentucky’s disruptive, racially-biased, and abuse-ridden apprenticeship system.