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History professor Steve O’Neill to speak at Duke symposium about slavery

Stephen O'Neill, Furman University Department of History

Furman Professor of History Steve O’Neill has been invited to speak at a Duke University symposium about slavery March 30-31.

The symposium, “American Universities, Monuments, and the Legacies of Slavery,” is sponsored by the Duke Office of the Provost.

The two-day public symposium organized by Duke historian Thavolia Glymph will convene a group of leading scholars whose work explores questions of race, memory, slavery, monuments and education in the South.

O’Neill will participate in a Friday, March 30 panel titled “American Universities: Reckoning with the Past.” He will discuss Furman’s Task Force on Slavery and Justice during the session.

As co-chair of Furman’s 50-Year Celebration of Desegregation, O’Neill recovered the history of desegregation at Furman and presented it to the university and community. His work served as a catalyst for Furman’s ongoing efforts to study diversity and bring greater racial justice on campus.

He now leads six Furman students who are part of Furman’s Task Force on Slavery and Justice, an initiative chaired by Furman Communication Studies Professor Brandon Inabinet. A report due out later this year, “Seeking Abraham,” will assimilate the group’s findings about Furman’s direct and indirect ties to slavery.

Among other works, O’Neill has authored “What We Remember, What We Forget: Mythmaking and Civil Rights History in South Carolina,” a book chapter honoring civil rights activist and scholar Paul Gaston, and “Memory, History, and the Desegregation of Greenville, South Carolina” in “Toward the Meeting of the Waters: Currents in the Civil Rights Movement of South Carolina During the Twentieth Century.”

A native of Charleston, O’Neill joined the Furman faculty in 1987. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Furman and master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Virginia.

Learn more about the symposium. Or for more information, contact the Furman News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107.

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