The Free State of Jones

Lecture Announcement: “The Free State of Jones: The Politics of Race, Class, and Memory”

Victoria Bynum to deliver Walz Lecture at Southern Arkansas University

Victoria Bynum will deliver the annual Robert B. Walz Lecture in Arkansas and Regional History, 7:00 pm, Tuesday, September 19, in the Grand Hall of the Reynolds Center on the campus of Southern Arkansas University.

Dr. Bynum’s presentation is “The Free State of Jones: The Politics of Race, Class, and Memory.”

Dr. Bynum is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at Texas State University, San Marcos. An award-winning author and National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, she is the author of The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War, and numerous other works that analyze class, race, and gender relations in the Civil War Era South.

On her blog, Renegade South, Professor Bynum explains how she came to write The Free State of Jones: “As both a historian and an individual, I am on the hunt for ordinary people who commit extraordinary acts. I am especially drawn to those who confront systems of power in unlikely ways alongside unlikely allies.”

In 2016 the story of Newton Knight’s armed rebellion against Confederate authorities in southeast Mississippi was depicted in the movie, The Free State of Jones, produced by STX Entertainment, directed by Gary Ross, and starring Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Mahershala Ali.

Matt McConaughey as Newt Knight, Courtesy STX Entertainment


Dr. Bynum’s other books are The Long Shadow of the Civil War: Southern Dissent and Its Legacies and Unruly Women: The Politics of Social and Sexual Control in the Old South. She earned her Ph.D from the University of California, San Diego, and began teaching at Texas State University in 1986.


Dr. Robert Walz taught history at SAU from 1958 to 1987. He promoted the study of Arkansas history through his scholarship, preservation of historic photographs, and leadership in state organizations.
The Walz Lectureship was established in 1995 with a bequest from the estate of Mrs. Curtistine A. Walz, in honor of her husband’s long service to the university.

The lecture is sponsored by the College of Liberal and Performing Arts at Southern Arkansas University.
The lecture is free and open to the public. The audience is also welcomed to attend a reception for Professor Bynum in the Reynolds Center following the lecture.

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