LEWISBURG, Pa. — Constitution historian Paul Finkelman will be a panelist in the discussion, “A Covenant With Death: Understanding the Proslavery Constitution,” Wednesday, Sept. 27, at 7:30 p.m. in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University.

The discussion, which is free to the public, is part of the University's celebration of Constitution Day. Finkelman will be joined by panelists Mary DeCredico, provost at Bucknell, and Leslie Patrick, department chair and associate professor of history at Bucknell.

Finkelman is the President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy and Senior Fellow in the Government Law Center at Albany Law School. He received his B.A. in American Studies from Syracuse University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in U.S. history from Chicago and was a fellow in law and humanities at Harvard Law School. 

He is the author, co-author, or editor of more than 20 books including Slavery and the Founders: Race and Liberty in the Age of Jefferson; Dred Scott v. Sandford: A Brief History; Landmark Decisions of the United States Supreme Court; and A March of Liberty: A Constitutional History of the United States.

The author of more than 100 scholarly articles on various topics including Constitutional law; civil rights, civil liberties, race relations, freedom of religion and separation of church and state; and baseball and law, he was an expert witness in the Alabama Ten Commandments Monument Case and in the lawsuit over the ownership of Barry Bonds' 73rd home run ball.

DeCredico, who was named Bucknell provost in April 2005, previously served as vice academic dean at the U.S. Naval Academy. She received her B.A. with honors in history from Bucknell in 1981 and her M.A. in American history and Ph.D. in Southern history from Vanderbilt. She has authored two books: Mary Boykin Chesnut: A Confederate Woman's Life and Patriotism for Profit: Georgia's Urban Entrepreneurs and the Confederate War Effort and is researching a study of wartime Richmond for publication.

Patrick joined the University in 1986 after teaching at the University of California at Santa Cruz. A graduate of Johnston College, University of Redlands, she earned a doctorate from UC Santa Cruz, where she also served as assistant coordinator, associate director and admissions counselor. Her teaching and research topics are African American history; American colonial, early national and antebellum history; crime and punishment in America; and African-American, 18th- and 19th-century American social history. She has been a Ford Foundation Fellow and is past president of the Pennsylvania Historical Society.

Sen. Robert C. Byrd, a West Virginia Democrat and the United States Congress unofficial Constitutional scholar, proposed Constitution Day as a way to ensure that students gain an increased knowledge and appreciation for this valuable and important document of freedom.

Congress passed a provision in 2004, declaring Sept. 17 as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, commemorating the day the document was adopted in 1787. Beginning last year, all schools receiving federal funds must teach about the Constitution near Sept. 17.

Posted Sept. 20, 2006

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