West VirginiaUniversity will sponsor two lectures featuring internationally prominent scholars on the history of Italian-American and African-American migration throughout the United States. The lectures, scheduled for March 13 and 14, are free and open to the public.
Both of these special presentations are part of the Fifth Senator Rush Holt History Conference, which will bring more than 100 historians from as far as Wales to Morgantown March 13-16.
Rudolph J. Vecoli, professor of history and director of the ImmigrationHistoryResearchCenter, University of Minnesota, will discuss”The Italian Global Diaspora,”at 7:30 p.m. March 13 in the Mountainlair Shenandoah Room. Vecoli is one of the nations most prominent authorities on European migration and ethnicity in America. His recent publications include an essay titled”The Lady and the Huddled Masses: The Statue of Liberty as a Symbol of Immigration,”in The Statue of Liberty Revisited, published by the Smithsonian Institute Press, and an edited volume titled”A Century of European Migrations, 1830-1930.”
As director of the ImmigrationHistoryResearchCenter, Vecoli oversees documentary and archival collections representing some 25 ethnic groups in America, including those of Arab, Croatian, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Jewish, Polish, Russian and Ukrainian descent. The University of Minnesotas College of Liberal Arts has created a fund to raise at least $1 million to endow the Rudolph Vecoli Chair in Immigration History Research.
On the following evening, Joe William Trotter, the Mellon Professor of History and history department head at Carnegie Mellon University, will present”The Great Migration, African Americans and Immigrants: Comparative Perspectives on Domestic and International Population Movements During the Industrial Era.”Trotters lecture will begin at 8 p.m. in the Mountainlair Gold Ballroom.
Trotter, who received his Ph.D. in 1980 from the University of Minnesota, is a specialist in U.S. urban, labor and African-American history. The most recent of his seven published books is”The African-American Experience, Volumes I and II . “His publications also include”River Jordan: African American Urban Life in the OhioValley,”“Blacks in the Industrial Age: A Documentary History, 1880-1945,”co-written with Earl Lewis, and”Coal, Class, and Color: Blacks in Southern West Virginia, 1915-1932.”He currently is completing a study of black urban workers in the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries. Totters lecture is presented in memory of James Morton Callahan, a prominent WVU history professor in the early 1900s.
The theme of this years Holt conference is”On the Move: Migration and the Reconstruction of Cultural Identity.”The conference is sponsored by WVU through the Senator Rush Holt Endowment, the Department of History and the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. The West Virginia Humanities Council is a co-sponsor of the conference, and the WVU Committee for the Preservation of Italian-American History and Culture is a co-sponsor of Vecolis lecture.
In addition to a series of roundtable discussions and research paper presentations, the conference will feature two exhibits.”Perceptions of Home: The Urban Appalachian Spirit”is an interactive multimedia exhibit provided by the Urban Appalachian Council in Cincinnati, and”Working in the Seams: An Initial Photographic View into the African-American Coal Culture of Southern Illinois”is a photographic exhibit from the CoalResearchCenter at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. The exhibits will be featured throughout the conference in the Mountainlairs Mountaineer Room and on the main walkway of the first floor in the Mountainlair, respectively.
The Senator Rush Holt History Conference is held biennially at West Virginia University in memory of the U.S. senator who represented the state from 1935-1941 and the father of Rush D. Holt, a U.S. congressman representing New Jerseys 12th District.
For additional information, contact the WVU Department of History at 293-2421 or visit the departments Web site at