Urbana University to discuss hurdles freed slaves faced after war

J. Michael Rhyne will provide a lecture on the topic “The Negroes Are No Longer Slaves: The Problem of Freedom in Post-Emancipation Kentucky” at noon Thursday 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 will also 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 Kentucky’s disruptive, racially-biased and abuse-ridden apprenticeship system.

Rhyne, associate professor of history at Urbana University, holds a Ph.D. 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 and cultural history and U.S. women’s history at Urbana University. STAFF REPORT

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