Randall University’s third annual “Dr. James Caster Symposium on the Civil War” is scheduled for Tuesday, April 2 and Wednesday, April 3 on campus at the institution in Moore.
Kicking off the symposium at 1:30 p.m. on April 2 is Vince Marmorale, who will focus on a “Yankee’s Evolving View on the Civil War.” He will describe those evolving views on the conflict as he has investigated different interpretations of events.
Marmorale also closes the show on Wednesday at 1 p.m., with a presentation on “My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes of the Holocaust.” Awarded the Louis Yavner award from the New York Board of Regents, in 2010 Marmorale established the Italy and the Holocaust Foundation, and produced a featured-length document on one of the largely unknown stories of World War II.
Next on the program is T.S. Akers, who is a fourth great-grandson of Chilly McIntosh, the subject of Akers’ presentation. McIntosh was a colonel in the Second Regiment of Creek Mounted Volunteers for the Confederate Army during the Battle of Honey Springs. A resident of Oklahoma City, Akers earned his bachelor’s in American History and a Master’s in Museum Studies, both from the University of Oklahoma. The author of two books and numerous articles, Akers is currently the curator of the Masonic collections for the McAlester Scottish Rite Temple.
At 3:30 p.m. on the first day of the symposium, Andrew Horton (Jeanne Smith professor of Film and Video Studies, emeritus, University of Oklahoma) will speak. The author of 30 books on film, screenwriting and cultural studies will speak about his ancestor, John C. Breckinridge, vice president of the United States from 1857-1861, and later a Confederate general. (One Horton films included Brad Pitt, in his first film.)
At 4:30 p.m., Jeff Massey will focus on on the escape of a member of the Lincoln assassination conspiracy, John Surratt, in “The One Who Got Away.” Massey, an assistant district attorney in Oklahoma County, is a past president of the Oklahoma City Civil War Round Table.
After Massey concludes there will be a supper break. Steve Byas, who provided symposium the details to The City Sentinel, said on-campus meals would be available for $10.
Tuesday evening, Ben Odom, who has served multiple terms as president of the Oklahoma City Civil War Round Table, will lecture on Confederate General Ben Hardin Helm, a brother-in-law of President Abraham Lincoln. Odom is an attorney in Norman. His presentation begins at 6:30 p.m.
After Odom, at 7:30 p.m., Dan De Kalb will deliver a multi-media presentations about a Civil War battle, focusing on the role played by the “bloody” 9th Illinois at the Battle of Shiloh.
The next moming at 9 a.m., an acclaimed Oklahoma historian and author of several books, John Dwyer will speak on the life and times of Ranald MacKenzie, a noted Union Army officer in Indian Territory known as perhaps the greatest “Indian fighter” after the War Between the States.
Dwyer is author of “The War Between the States: America’s Uncivil War,” and of an award-winning book on Oklahoma history.
At 10 a.m., Mary Jane Warde, author of “When the Wolf Came,” a history of the war in Indian Territory will speak. For that book, she won the 2014 Oklahoma Book Award for nonfiction. She received her Ph.D. in history at Oklahoma State, and was the Indian Historian/Archivist at the Oklahoma Historical Society for eight years.
Beau Cantrell, who has served in multiple leadership positions for the Civil War Round Table, will speak at 11:00 a.m., on the role of slavery had in the Civil War. Byas observed, “Cantrell is regarded as a walking encyclopedia on the Civil War and on history generally. Despite his depth of knowledge, his lectures are delivered in an entertaining style that keeps the audience enthralled throughout.”
During the Symposium, winner of a scholarship essay contest among Randall students will be announced. Their topic is “Could the South Have Won the Civil War?” Byas, a professor at Randall, said the symposium is open to the public, at no cost. The University will gladly accept contributions.
Formerly known as Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College, Randall University is a Christian liberal arts institution, located just south of Oklahoma City, at 3701 S. I-35 — the access road on the west side of the Interstate – just north of Indian Hills Road. The event will be held in the large two-story building that can be seen from I-35. The symposium bears the name of Dr. Caster, a founder and leader of the Oklahoma City Civil War Round Table.