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W&L’s Robert Strong to Lecture on Jimmy Carter in the Civil Rights Era

Robert A. Strong, the William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee University, will give a lecture at W&L on Thursday, Feb. 5, at 5:00 p.m. in Huntley 327.

The title of the talk, which is free and open to the public, is “Politics and Principle: Jimmy Carter in the Civil Rights Era.” Strong’s talk is part of the 2014-2015: Race and Justice in America and is sponsored by W&L’s Roger Mudd Center for Ethics. For more information about this series, please visit the Mudd Center website.

Strong’s talk will look at the changes that took place in American politics, and particularly in the south, during and after the civil rights movement by providing a biographical sketch involving Jimmy Carter. He made no claim to leadership in the civil rights movement, but the early stages of his public life were profoundly affected by it.

Carter famously announced that the era of segregation was over shortly after he was elected governor in 1970. Before that date he was caught in circumstances where politics and principle were often at odds and one or the other played a dominant role in his actions.

“These biographical details are important to scholars who try to understand Carter’s career on the national and international stage,” said Strong. “But they are also important for giving context and texture, and perhaps some complexity, to conversations about the importance and the impact of the civil rights era.”

Strong, who earned his B.A. from Kenyon College, his M.A. from Northern Illinois University and his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, joined the W&L faculty in 1989. He also has been a visiting professor at the University of Virginia, Oxford University and the University College, Dublin. Strong was associate provost and interim provost at W&L from 2008-2013.

He is the author of three books including “Decisions and Dilemmas: Case Studies in Presidential Foreign Policy Making” (1992; second edition 2005) and “Working in the World: Jimmy Carter and the Making of America Foreign Policy” (2000). Strong also is the author of many articles, book chapters and review essays and op-eds.

Among other professional activities, Strong has participated in oral history interviews with Jimmy Carter, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, James Baker, Tony Blair, John Major, James Woolsey, Samuel Berger, Richard Haass, Hamilton Jordan, Jody Powell, and other officials in the Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton presidencies.