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Paul Finkelman to Lecture on Ohio Slave Fugitive Law and Oberlin Case, April 13

Posted Apr. 6, 2011

As part of its “Cosmopolitanism and Diversity in the African World” lecture series, Kent State University’s Department of Pan-African Studies presents a lecture by Paul Finkelman, the William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy and Senior Fellow at the Albany Law School’s Governor Law Center in Albany, N.Y. The lecture takes place Wednesday, April 13, at 7:30 p.m. in room 214 of Oscar Ritchie Hall on the Kent Campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Finkelman’s talk is titled “The Ohio Slave Fugitive Law and the Oberlin Case.” An expert in areas such as the legal history of slavery, race relations and segregation in the United States, Finkelman will speak about the Ohio Slave Law and a famous 19th-century case in Oberlin, Ohio, involving those codes.

He is an expert in constitutional history and constitutional law, freedom of religion, the law of slavery, civil liberties and the American Civil War, and legal issues surrounding baseball. He is the author of more than 150 scholarly articles and more than 25 books. He has been named the ninth most cited legal historian according to “Brian Leieter's Law School Rankings.”

Finkelman has written extensively on Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. He was the chief expert witness in the Alabama Ten Commandments monument case, and his scholarship on religious monuments in public spaces was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in Van Orden v. Perry (2005). His scholarship on the Second Amendment also has been cited by the Supreme Court. In 2002, he was a key expert witness in the suit over who owned Barry Bonds’ 73rd home run ball.

In fall 2010, C-SPAN was on the Albany Law School campus to tape Finkelman's two-hour class on the Dred Scott case. The program aired nationally and is now part of C-SPAN’s American History TV series.  He also has appeared on other C-SPAN programs, PBS and the History Channel. Finkelman’s op-eds and shorter pieces have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today and on the Huffington Post.

For more information on Kent State’s Department of Pan-African Studies, visit

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Media Contacts:
Wendy Wilson-Fall,, 330-672-2300
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595