Andrew Jackson Professor of History
Richard Blackett is a historian of the abolitionist movement in the US and particularly its transatlantic connections and the roles African Americans played in the movement to abolish slavery. He is the author of Building an Antislavery Wall: Black Americans in the Atlantic Abolitionist Movement, 1830-1860 (Louisiana State University Press, 1983); Beating Against the Barriers. Biographical Essays in Nineteenth-Century Afro-American History (Louisiana State University Press, 1986); Thomas Morris Chester: Black Civil War Correspondent (Louisiana State University Press, Da Capo Press, 1989); Divided Hearts. Britain and the American Civil War(Louisiana State University Press, 2001); Making Freedom: The Underground Railroad and the Politics of Slavery (University of North Carolina Press, 2013); editor, Running A Thousand Miles for Freedom: The Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery (Louisiana State University Press, 1999). At present he is working on a study of the ways communities on both sides of the divide organized to support or resist enforcement of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, and the ways slaves by escaping influenced the politics of slavery. Blackett has been named the Harold Vyvyan Harmsworth Professor of American History at Oxford University for the 2013-14 academic year. On May 5, 2008, the Library Company held its Annual Dinner in its 277th year. Professor Richard J. Blackett, the Andrew Jackson Professor of History at Vanderbilt University, was the featured speaker. Click Here for an audio pod cast of his talk about the African American struggle in the age of emancipation.
Blackett taught previously at the University of Pittsburgh (1971-85), Indiana University (1985-1996); University of Houston where he was the John & Rebecca Moores professor of history and African American Studies (1996-2002).
He has been Associate Editor of the Journal of American History (1985-1990), Acting Editor (1989-1990); editor of the Indiana Magazine of History (1993-1996). He is also past president of the Association of Caribbean Historians.