‘Lay My Burden Down’ conference examines the meaning of freedom

Paul EscottTo commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem State University and Old Salem, in conjunction with the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, are hosting a conference called “Lay My Burden Down” on Oct. 17-18. At the conference, experts and non-experts alike will explore issues of freedom.

Wake Forest’s Reynolds Professor of History Paul D. Escott, who is a conference organizer and Civil War expert, said that the conference will bring together several of the most renowned historians who have written about slavery and emancipation. “We are extremely fortunate to have both celebrated senior scholars, such as Ira Berlin and Thavolia Glymph, and outstanding younger historians, such as Heather Williams, Susan O’Donovan and David Cecelski. They will share new information and perspectives to this critical period in our nation’s history.”

Among the many scheduled events, Maya Angelou — Reynolds Professor of American Studies, poet, author and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011 — will present a Poem for the Occasion and three Wake Forest senior history majors will give presentations. Tours of St. Philips Heritage Center, the oldest standing African-American church in North Carolina are also being offered.

A complete schedule of events is on the “Lay My Burden Down” website.