Author of Free State of Jones to deliver Walz Lecture at SAU on Sept. 19


Victoria Bynum will deliver the annual Robert B. Walz Lecture in Arkansas and Regional History at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 19, in Southern Arkansas University’s Reynolds Center Grand Hall.

Her presentation is “The Free State of Jones: The Politics of Race, Class and Memory.”

Dr. Bynum is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at Texas State University, San Marcos. An award-winning author and National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, she is the author of The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War, and numerous other works analyzing class, race and gender relations in the Civil War Era South.

On her blog, Professor Bynum explains how she came to write The Free State of Jones: “As both a historian and an individual, I am on the hunt for ordinary people who commit extraordinary acts. I am especially drawn to those who confront systems of power in unlikely ways alongside unlikely allies.”

In 2016, the story of Newton Knight’s armed rebellion against Confederate authorities in southeast Mississippi was depicted in a film starring Matthew McConaughey and Mahershala Ali.

Dr. Bynum’s other books are Unruly Women and The Long Shadow of the Civil War.

She earned her Ph.D from the University of California, San Diego, and began teaching at Texas State University in 1986.

Dr. Robert Walz taught history at SAU from 1958 to 1987. He promoted the study of Arkansas history through his scholarship, preservation of historic photographs, and leadership in state organizations.

The Walz Lectureship was established in 1995 with a bequest from the estate of Mrs. Curtistine A. Walz, in honor of her husband’s long service to the university.

The lecture is sponsored by the College of Liberal and Performing Arts at Southern Arkansas University.

The lecture is free and open to the public. The audience is also welcomed to attend a reception for Professor Bynum in the Reynolds Center following the lecture.

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