Distinguished Lecturers
Kate Masur

Kate Masur

Kate Masur, Board of Visitors Professor of History at Northwestern University, writes and speaks about how Americans have grappled with the long aftermath of slavery. Her latest book, Until Justice Be Done: America's First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction (2021) was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and is the first book to describe how a broad coalition of Black and white Americans came together to fight racist laws in the antebellum North and shaped federal policy during the Civil War and Reconstruction. Masur is also the author of An Example for All the Land: Emancipation and the Struggle over Equality in Washington, D.C. (2010), and coeditor, with Gregory P. Downs, of The World the Civil War Made (2015). She has worked extensively with the National Park Service and a variety of museums to bring the history of Reconstruction to the broader public. Her writing has appeared in the op-ed pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and other venues. Her scholarship has been supported by the Hutchins Center at Harvard University, the ACLS, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. Masur currently co-edits, with Greg Downs, The Journal of the Civil War Era

OAH Lectures by Kate Masur

Reconstruction is a critical period in American history, and also among the most misunderstood. Masur discusses the challenges Americans faced after the abolition of slavery, the era's bold effort to create a multiracial democracy, and the fierce opposition that ultimately brought that experiment down. This lecture challenges the conventional idea that Reconstruction ended in 1877.

This lecture explores how Grant, as president, confronted the problem of political violence -- including voter suppression -- in the former Confederacy. Drawing extensively on letters to Grant from Black and white Americans, Masur explains the various and competing pressures Grant faced, particularly in his first term as president.

In this lecture, Masur discusses her pathbreaking research on segregation and social equality at the Lincoln White House. She demonstrates that Black people made social events at the White House a forum in the struggle for justice and she explains how their white supporters and opponents reacted and why it matters.

Drawing on her prizewinning book, Masur explains how, in the antebellum period, Black and white northerners came together to demand racial equality in civil rights, moving their ideas from the margins of politics to the mainstream and ultimately shaping the nation's first federal civil rights measures: the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the 14th Amendment.

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