Join Vanderbilt law and history professor Daniel J. Sharfstein to hear about his powerful new history of how Oliver Otis Howard, a champion for the rights of freed slaves, became an architect of the subjugation of Native Americans in the 1870s.

Union Army General Oliver Otis Howard was energized by his belief in abolition and Reconstruction but, as Reconstruction crumbled, he was sent west to command forces in the Pacific Northwest with a new mission of forcing Native Americans to become Christian farmers on government reservations. When Chief Joseph, a young Nez Perce leader, refused to leave his ancestral land, the Nez Perce War transfixed the nation and immortalized Chief Joseph as a hero to generations of Americans.

Through the story of this epic clash of two American legends —their brutal war and a battle of ideas that defined America after Reconstruction, Historian Daniel J. Sharfstein showcases key issues like who gets to claim the American dream; the meaning of freedom and equality; the mechanics of American power, and the limits of what the government can and should do for its people.

There will be a book signing following the event.


Brief Bio

Daniel J. Sharfstein is a professor of law and history at Vanderbilt University and a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow. His first book, The Invisible Line: A Secret History of Race in America, received the J. Anthony Lukas Prize.

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