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Common Reading Events


March 2022

Thursday, March 10:  Harriet Tubman Day

April 2022

Wednesday, April 13: Storyteller Sheila Arnold – co-sponsored with SPEAK Story Series & the Common Reading Program. More details to come!

Arnold interprets the life of Oney Judge, an 18th-century Free Woman and past personal maidservant to Martha Washington. Oney Judge was the personal maidservant to Martha Washington from the time George Washington was elected to attend the Continental Congress until the end of his 2nd term of presidency.  Oney has the infamous reputation of being one of the ones that “ran away” from Philadelphia, PA right before the end of President Washington’s term as President.  We meet Oney in the latter parts of her life where she talks about her life with the Washingtons, her home life and upbringing, her run for freedom, her attempt to negotiate with the first President of the United States and her new life as a Free Negro.

Past Events:


Tuesday, Nov. 9 @ 7:00 pm – Catherine Clinton, author talk – Frank Center Theater – “Harriet Tubman’s Life and Legacy” – free & open to the public.  Dr. Catherine Clinton is the Denman Professor of American History at the University of Texas at San Antonio and former president of the Southern Historical Association. She specializes in American History, with an emphasis on the history of the South, the American Civil War, American women, and African American history. Dr. Clinton earned her B.A. at Harvard University, her M.A. at the University of Sussex, and her Ph.D from Princeton University. She has held academic positions at numerous institutions of higher learning, including Harvard University, Brown UniversityWesleyan University, and The Citadel. Clinton has written for the History Channel and has authored and edited more than twenty-five books to date. She is editor of the series “History in the Headlines” and “Viewpoints on American Culture“. Clinton serves on the scholarly advisory board of both Ford’s Theatre and the Lincoln Cottage, as well as the journals Civil War Times and Civil War HistoryIn 2016, Clinton received the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, which funded her research on how mental illness was diagnosed and treated for Union soldiers during the Civil War. Her biography, Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom, was selected as one of the year’s best non-fiction books in 2004 by the Chicago Tribune and the Christian Science Monitor and serves as the current Shepherd University Common Reading selection. 


October 12, 2021 @ 7:00 pm –  “Race, Religion, and Security in the 18th Century Southeastern Borderlands” – Byrd CHE Auditorium – Dr. Timothy Fritz will discuss the ways religion factored into the laws and practice of slaveholding on the edges of empire by examining the operation and cultural implications of Anglican missions in South Carolina. Timothy Fritz, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of History and chair of the history department at Mount St. Mary’s University.  Dr. Fritz is a historian of race and early America and has published articles on race, religion, and the early South. Co-sponsored by The Shepherd University Common Reading Program & The George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War with support from the Shepherd University Foundation. Free & Open to the Public.

The following two events are sponsored and hosted by the Robert C. Byrd Center but have connection to this year’s common reading through the lens of civil rights:

October 14, 2021 @ 7:00 pm – “Justice Rising: Robert Kennedy’s America in Black and White” with Patricia Sullivan

October 27, 2021 @ 7:00 pm – “The Essential Kerner Commission Report” with Jelani Cobb