‘Slavery by Another Name’ Lecture at SUNY Oswego Prompts Students to Believe Change is Necessary

Douglas Blackmon, Pulitzer Prize winning author of “Slavery by Another Name” and executive producer of the PBS Documentary of the same title, gave a free lecture on the SUNY Oswego campus on Thursday, February 12th as a part of the semester-long Race, Place, Being series. The purpose of the program is to educate the student body on race-related issues that are not often discussed.

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In his lecture, Blackmon posed many thoughts and corrections of general consensus about where we have come in race relations since the civil war, and also where we are now.

“At the beginning of the 20th century, even the most forward thinking white people did not believe blacks were equal to whites,” Blackmon said.

Freshman broadcasting major Allif Karim was moved by what Douglas Blackmon said.

“His documentary taught me a lot of things that I do not remember learning in my past history classes, but I wish I would have because it is my goal to always see every side of a story,” Karim said.


Most other students in attendance also believed that the severity of slavery in the 20th century that Blackmon discussed in the lecture should be taught in schools at a younger age.

“I believe that at a college level it is definitely acceptable…but anything younger than that, I don’t think that they would be able to fully handle it or understand it,” Lauren Toscano, a sophomore broadcasting major, said.

Toscano believes that the severity of the violence that took place may have been to graphic to be taught at a younger age.

“I don’t think [the dark subject matter] is too sensitive,” Marissa Sarbak, a senior communications major who spoke at the event, said. “The turnout here listening to Mr. Blackmon shows that students want to come out and learn about it…I’d like to learn not only black history but everybody’s history. It shouldn’t only be a month and it should be electives. It should be ingrained in our history to learn about everything.”