Prof. Al Brophy to Speak at 2013 Murphy Lecture

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Alfred Brophy

Alfred Brophy, Judge John J. Parker Distinguished Professor of Law, will deliver the 2013 William P. Murphy Distinguished Lecture at UNC School of Law on Tuesday, Feb. 12. The lecture will take place at noon in the rotunda at the law school.

Brophy will speak on "Slavery and Jurisprudence at the University of North Carolina Before the Civil War," detailing the ideas about constitutional law and slavery at the University during that time period. Drawing on such diverse sources as graduation addresses, Dialectic and Philanthropic Society debates, and books written by the faculty, Brophy shows that UNC’s students and faculty were more ambivalent about slavery than most southern schools.

"It was not until the 1850s that UNC fully embraced slavery and even then the students, faculty, and community at UNC remained substantially more committed to the idea of Union than most other southerners," says Brophy. In the lecture, Brophy will reveal the sophisticated debate about the Constitution’s protection of the Union and slavery at the University, as well as UNC's response to crises like Nullification, the Nat Turner rebellion, and the secession movement in those difficult years as the United States split apart.

Brophy has written extensively on race and property law in colonial, antebellum and early Twentieth Century America. His books are Reconstructing the Dreamland: The Tulsa Riot of 1921, Race, Reparations, Reconciliation (Oxford University Press, 2002) and Reparations Pro and Con (Oxford University Press, 2006). Brophy is completing a book on antebellum jurisprudence, tentatively titled University, Court, and Slave, which will be published in 2014 by Oxford University Press.

The Murphy Lecture Series was established by the UNC School of Law Class of 1990 to celebrate former faculty member Professor William P. Murphy's teaching and his work in constitutional law, labor law and civil rights. This lecture series is responsible for bringing noted lawyers, political figures and public advocates to the campus. The event is free and open to the public.

-February 5, 2013

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