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Edward Ayers, the Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and president emeritus at the University of Richmond, will present “Southern Journey: The Story of the American South in Movement” at 5 p.m. Thursday, September 20, at the East Tennessee Historical Society.

The address is part of the annual Charles O. Jackson Memorial Lecture hosted by the Department of History.

By tracing the movement of people through the South in the eras of slavery, segregation, and the present, Ayers will tell the story of Southern history over two centuries.

Ayers is a National Professor of the Year, a National Humanities Medal winner, a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist, and Bancroft Prize winner for distinguished writing in American history.

Ayers is one of the cohosts for BackStory, a popular podcast about American history. His newest book, The Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America, has received the Lincoln Prize from the Gilder Lehrman Institute and Gettysburg College.

Each fall, the Charles O. Jackson lecture series brings leading scholars in American cultural history to Knoxville. The event honors the career of the late Charles O. Jackson, a scholar of American culture and society whose wide-ranging works explored American ideas about death and sexual deviance, food and drug legislation, and the social and military history of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Jackson was an esteemed member of the history department from 1969 to 1997. He was appointed assistant dean of the College of Liberal Arts in 1972 and associate dean in 1979.


Ernie Freeberg (865-974-7079,

Amanda Womac (865-974-2992,