One of the South’s foremost historians will be at the College of Charleston October 20 and 21, 2011 taking part in “The Art of History,” a celebration in his honor to which the public is invited. Peter H. Wood has inspired a generation of historians to investigate the role played by people of African descent in the construction of American society. All events are free and open to the public.

“Professor Wood wrote the most important book to date about our state, Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 through the Stono Rebellion,” says historian Dale Rosengarten. “He recently published two provocative studies on paintings by Winslow Homer. We seized the opportunity to bring Peter to campus this fall while he is actively promoting his book about Homer’s vision of the Civil War, Near Andersonville.

The two-day event reflects Wood’s lifelong interests in exploration, natural history, and the arts.  It opens with a screening of Carvalho’s Journey, a work-in-progress by acclaimed filmmaker Steve Rivo, on Thursday, October 20, at 6:00 p.m. in room 227 of the Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library. Born in Charleston in 1815, Solomon Nunes Carvalho was an observant Jew who became a mainstream artist and the official photographer for John C. Fremont’s 1853 expedition across North America, a journey that nearly cost him his life.

On Friday, October 21 at 6:00 p.m. in the Avery Research Center (125 Bull St.), Wood will offer a lecture on Near Andersonville, recounting the detective work at the intersection of art and history that led him to uncover the mysteries of this once neglected painting. Winslow Homer may be best known for his paintings of ships and sailors, hunters and fishermen, rural vignettes and coastal scenes, but he also created some of the first serious black figures in American art.  Wood’s innovative study gives us a fresh view on Homer’s early career, the struggle to end slavery, and the dramatic closing engagements of the Civil War. This lecture is part of the Wells Fargo Lecture Series and the CLAW (Carolina Lowcountry and the Atlantic World) Program’s commemoration of the Civil War sesquicentennial.

Sponsored by the College of Charleston’s CLAW program, the Addlestone Library, and the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture.

For more information, contact John White, director of the CLAW program, at 843.953.8016.