First Symposium To Discuss Local, National History

Local students, scholars and community members will come together to discuss history and a wide range of other disciplines during the first Sam Houston Symposium on Saturday (Feb. 28).

The all-day event, which will begin at 8:30 a.m., will bring presenters from across the state to the Katy and E. Don Walker, Sr., Education Center, for panel discussions on such topics as the Civil War, Huntsville’s prisoner of war camp during World War II and civil rights stories from the Huntsville Latino community, as well as art, political science and archaeology.

“The name Sam Houston Symposium refers to both the man and the university,” said Nancy Zey, SHSU assistant professor of history. “While Sam is not the only focus, there is a panel of presentations on his ‘Confidants and Controversies.’

“We hope that by bringing together different people of various interests, they'll find they have much in common and perhaps find opportunities to collaborate,” she said.

Among the highlights of the program is a roundtable on local research and archival collections, during which people can learn where to research and how to share their family papers through a digitization project at the Newton Gresham Library. The panel will also include David Gerleman, an assistant editor of the “Papers of Abraham Lincoln,” who will not only discuss the collection but also a newly-discovered letter from Gen. Sam Houston’s brother William to Lincoln.

During lunch, Huntsville State Park superintendent Chris Holm will give a talk on the history of the park, which was built in large part by an all African-American group as part of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

In addition, there will be a poster presentation of undergraduate research that will be on display in the Walker Education Center Atrium.

“At the 10:30 a.m. coffee break, the students will be there to discuss their posters and research projects,” Zey said. “Poster sessions are a great way to include more presentations and show off the great work of our students.

“We see the symposium as a learning opportunity for them, and we want to do our best to make it a positive, rewarding experience,” she said.

Following the symposium will be a reception in honor of “Tales of Oakwood,” a photographic exhibition by Barbara Sloan, which will begin March 2.

Zey said they hope to make the event an annual part of their winter calendar.

The Sam Houston Symposium is free, including lunch, and open to the public.

It is organized by the Sam Houston Memorial Museum and the SHSU Department of History, with additional support from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Huntsville Convention and Visitors Bureau, and through a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Because of limited seating, those interested in attending are “strongly encouraged” to register beforehand to ensure a spot, though it is not required. Registration will also be held on the day of the event but seats cannot be guaranteed.

For more information, or to register, contact the Sam Houston Memorial Museum at 936.294.3931 or, or Zey at 936.294.1489 or


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SHSU Media Contacts: Jennifer Gauntt
Feb. 19, 2009
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