Two members of the Murray State History department recently gave fascinating presentations of their on-going research. Their work reflects the energy and creativity of the department, as well as their dedication to presenting this work to a broader community of listeners.
Ted Belue, a Senior Lecturer in History, gave a presentation at Calloway County Public Library titled, “Black Indians and Black Mountain Men of the Frontier: Restoring a Vanishing Legacy.” The talk focused on a very unique aspect of America’s fur trade; the role of African-American frontiersmen and their roles in the creation and development of America’s frontier world. The talk included stories about legendary trappers such as Jim Beckwourth and Edward Rose, as well as lesser-known figures such as Pompey the Black Shawnee and Monk Estill. The work of trappers received prominent attention in the Academy Award winning film The Revenant.
As can be seen on Professor Belue’s faculty web-page, he is an authority on topics as diverse as Country Singer Patsy Cline, Daniel Boone, and 18th century tattoos. As a member of the History Department Outreach Committee, he also developed and organized this series at the Calloway County Public Library as a way of interacting with a wider community audience. In March, Jim Humphreys delivered a talk on Abraham Lincoln as part of the series.
Duane Bolin, Professor of History, presented his work for the Vaughn lecture at Williams Baptist College on the legendary Kentucky basketball coach Adolph Rupp. Titled “Adolph Rupp and the Rise of Big-Time College Basketball in America,” Bolin took audiences through the career of the “Baron of Bluegrass” and the events associated with him, including the 1951 Point-Shaving scandal of which Kentucky was at the center. Bolin looked to both the past and future of Kentucky basketball as an institution that was central to the development of both the SEC and the NCAA over the course of forty years.
A Kentucky historian, Bolin also recently published his book Home and Away: A Professor’s Journal. The book consists of 120 essays out of Bolin’s personal essay columns, published in newspapers across Kentucky, including a familiar frequent column in Murray Ledger & Times. The book can be purchased here.