Virginia Civil War 150

James Oliver Horton is the Benjamin Banneker Professor Emeritus of American Studies and History at George Washington University. He taught at the university for 31 years before retiring in 2008. He is also Historian Emeritus at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution, and during Spring Semesters, Visiting Professor of American Studies at the University of Hawaii. He received his Ph.D. in history from Brandeis University in 1973 and taught at the University of Michigan from 1973 until 1977 when he moved to George Washington University. He was Senior Fulbright Professor of American Studies at the University of Munich, in Germany in1988-89 and the John Adams Distinguished Fulbright Chair in American History at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands in the fall of 2003. He has also lectured throughout Europe and in Thailand and Japan. In 1991 he assisted the German government in developing American Studies programs in the former East Germany. In 1993 Professor Horton was appointed by Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt to serve on the National Park System Advisory Board and in 1996 he was elected board chair. In 1994-5 he served as Senior Advisor on Historical Interpretation and Public Education for the Director of the National Park Service.

Professor Horton has been recognized for teaching excellence, receiving The Carnegie Foundation, CASE Professor of the Year for the District of Columbia, in 1996 and the Trachtenberg Distinguished Teaching Award for George Washington University, 1994. In 2006 he received the George Washington University President's Medal. Past recipients of this award include Mikhail Gorbachev, Walter Cronkite, Israeli Prime Minister and Nobel Laureate Shimon Peres, and United States Senators William First and Joseph Lieberman.

Professor Horton has also served as historical advisor to several museums in the United States and abroad, including the Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, OH, the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN, Colonial Williamsburg, and Monticello. An advocate of public history, he has been a historical consultant to numerous film and video productions including those seen on ABC, PBS, the Discovery Channels, C-Span TV, and the History Channel. He also appears in the DVD version of the movie "Glory." and was a historical consultant for and appeared in the 2004 PBS series, “Slavery and the Making of America.” In February, 2002, he hosted The History Channel TV Special, “A Fragile Freedom: African American Historic Sites,” based on his Oxford University Press book, The Landmarks of African American History. Professor Horton was also historical advisor for the 2005 History Channel series, “Ten Days That Unexpectedly Changed America,” which won the 2006 Emmy Award for best nonfiction TV series.

From 1998 to 2000 Professor Horton worked with the White House Millennium Council, acting as “historical expert” for then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. He traveled with the First Lady's "Save American Treasures" bus tour of historic places in the summer of 1998 and accompanied her on a tour of historic sites in Boston in the winter of 1998. In the fall of 2000, he was appointed by President William Clinton to serve on the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, of which he is still a member.

In 2004-5 Professor Horton was the President of the Organization of American Historians, and in May, 2005 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Wagner College. In February of 2005 Professor Horton was honored with the “Living Legend Award” by the African American Museum of Boston. In 2006 Professor Horton was elected to the National Academy of Arts and Sciences. In the spring of 2009, the University of Hawaii presented him with its “Distinguished Alumni Award.”

HISTORY EXHIBITIONS: Chief Historian for, “Slavery in New York,” an exhibition at the New York Historical Society, October 2005- March 2006, winner of the Crystal Apple Award as best exhibit in New York City in 2005.

"Free at Last: A History of the Abolition of Slavery," a traveling exhibit curated with David Brion Davis, opened Fall, 1997 at Fifth/Third Bank Exhibition Gallery, Cincinnati and Independence Hall, New York City and is currently touring the United States and Europe.

Slavery and Public History: The Tough Stuff of American Memory (New Press, 2006) co-editor with Lois E. Horton

The Landmarks of African American History (Oxford University Press, 2005)

Slavery and the Making of America (Oxford University Press, 2004) the companion book for the WNET PBS series of the same name to air in February of 2005, coauthored with Lois E. Horton

Hard Road to Freedom: The Story of African America (Rutgers University Press, 2001), coauthored with Lois E. Horton.

Von Benin Nach Baltimore: Geschichte der African Americans
(Hamburger Edition, Germany, 1999), coauthered with Norbert Finzsch and Lois E. Horton

In Hope of Liberty: Free Black Culture and Community in the North, 1700-1865, (Oxford University Press, 1997),coauthored with Lois E. Horton. Oxford University Press nominee for the 1997 Pulitzer Prize in History.

The History of the African American People (Smithmark Publishers, 1995), co-edited with Lois E. Horton; (paper edition, Wayne State University Press, 1997)

Free People of Color: Interior Issues in African American Community (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993).

City of Magnificent Intentions, A History of the District of Columbia (Intac, Inc., Washington, D.C., 1983), Pilot Series editor.

Black Bostonians: Family Life and Community Struggle in the Antebellum North (Holmes and Meier Publishers, New York, 1979, Second edition, 2000), coauthored with Lois E. Horton.

Series Editor for the Landmarks of American History Series, Oxford University Press.

Sponsored by a generous grant from Dominion Resources
and other partners

The Dominion Foundation

Verizon Foundation History Channel Virginia Foundation for the Humanities


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