Historian John David Smith, author of Soldiering for Freedom, will talk about Abraham Lincoln’s goals for African American recruits into the Union army during the Civil War at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 8, in the Prairie Room of the Bone Student Center.

The talk, titled “Abraham Lincoln, Emancipation, and the Black Union Troops,” is sponsored by the Harold K. Sage Foundation, the Illinois State University Foundation Fund, and the Department of History. The event is free and open to the public.

Smith is the Charles H. Stone Distinguished Professor of American History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. A Brooklyn, N.Y., native, he studied southern and Civil War history with Charles P. Roland at the University of Kentucky and has taught at several universities, including North Carolina State University and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München.

A prolific author, Smith has published 25 books, including An Old Creed for the New South: Proslavery Ideology and Historiography, 1865–1918 (1985), The Dictionary of Afro-American Slavery (1988), Slavery, Race, and American History (1999), Black Judas: William Hannibal Thomas and The American Negro (2000), Black Soldiers in Blue: African American Troops in the Civil War Era (2002), Undaunted Radical: The Selected Writings and Speeches of Albion W. Tourgée (2010), Lincoln and the U.S. Colored Troops (2013), Soldiering for Freedom (2014), and We Ask Only for Even-Handed Justice (2014).

He has received the Mayflower Society Award for Nonfiction and The Gustavus Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America.

The talk is part of The Speaker Series of Illinois State University, which seeks to bring innovative and enlightening speakers to the campus with the aim of providing the community with a platform to foster dialogue, cultivate enriching ideas, and continue an appreciation of learning as an active and lifelong process.

More information on all speakers can be found on the Speaker Series website.