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The Andrew Norman Guest Lecturer Series

An endowment from the Andrew Norman Foundation in 1988 established an annual guest lectureship which brings distinguished men and women in the forefront of regional politics, environmental issues, education, culture and arts to enhance the understanding of the communities of Colorado College and Colorado Springs about the Southwest.


2019-2020 Andrew Norman Lecture

"The Colorline and the Border Line: The Strange Career of William Ellis from Texas Slave to Mexican Millionaire" by Karl Jacoby and Robert “Chip” Williams

Karl Jacoby

Karl Jacoby and Robert “Chip” Williams discuss the extraordinary but true history of the border-crossing William Ellis. Born into slavery in Victoria, Texas, William Ellis capitalized on the Spanish that he learned as a child to reinvent himself in the 1880s as the Mexican businessman Guillermo Eliseo, a cosmopolitan figure who circulated between San Antonio, Mexico City, and New York City’s Wall Street. Ellis’s remarkable ability to negotiate color lines between black and Mexican communities as well as the borderline between the US and Mexico casts in sharp relief the racial and political geography of Mexico, the U.S., and their shared border region at the turn of the last century.

Karl Jacoby has devoted his career to understanding the ways in which the making of the United States intertwined with the unmaking of a variety of other societies—from Native American nations to the communities of northern Mexico—and the ecologies upon which they rested. His scholarship is distinguished by its close attention to questions of narrative and storytelling, in-depth micro-historical approach, and border-crossing nature. Jacoby’s published work straddles multiple boundaries—not only the geographic divisions between East and West, and Mexico and the United States, but also the methodological divides between labor history and environmental history, genocide studies and Native American history, and borderlands history and African-American history.

7 p.m., Thursday, October 3, 2019

Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, Screening Room, 825 N Cascade Ave.

Book signing and reception following lecture       

Free and open to the public

Previous Lectures