February 2, 2005
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.--Amherst College President Anthony W. Marx and Lucas Wilson, professor of economics and chair of African American and African Studies at Mount Holyoke College, will present keynote lectures in a semester-long series of symposia on "Slavery and its Legacies" on Wednesday, Feb. 16, at 4 p.m. in the Cole Assembly Room in Converse Hall at Amherst College, Sponsored by Five College Learning in Retirement, the event is open to the public at no charge.

An internationally recognized scholar who has written several books on nation building, particularly in South Africa, Marx also has established and managed programs designed to strengthen secondary school education in the U.S. and abroad. Before becoming Amherst's 18th president in 2003, Marx spent 13 years on the political science faculty at Columbia University. Marx founded the Columbia Urban Educators Program, a public school teacher recruitment and training partnership. He also directed the Early College/High School Initiative at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, which establishes model public high schools as partnerships between school systems and universities, and helped found Khanya College, a South African school that helped prepare more than 1,000 black students for university. Marx is the author of a dozen substantive articles and three books, Lessons of Struggle: South African Internal Opposition, 1960-1990 (1992), Making Race and Nation: A Comparison of the United States, South Africa and Brazil (1998) and Faith in Nation: Exclusionary Origins of Nationalism (2003).

Promoting the pursuit of "life-long learning," Five College Learning in Retirement annually sponsors as many as 50 peer-led seminars for its members, who now number more than 250. Chuck Gillies, a former president of the organization and project director for this series, says that two recent seminars, "Causes of the Civil War" and "Understanding Slavery," helped to inspire the series. He credits Robert Romer, Amherst College professor of physics, emeritus, with sharing "some little known facts about slavery in the North with all of us," facts he had learned initially in the seminars and as a new guide at Historic Deerfield. "Much of this local history as well as the background on slavery nationally had been forgotten, minimized or denied," said Gillies. More information about the program is available at the Five College Website www.fivecolleges.edu/news/news_lir_slavery05.html or by calling 413/585-3756.