Academic Historian

Stacey Smith is an Associate Professor of History at Oregon State University where she specializes in the history of the American West and the Civil War and Reconstruction eras. She is the author of Freedom’s Frontier: California and the Struggle over Unfree Labor, Emancipation, and Reconstruction (University of North Carolina Press, 2013), which won the inaugural David Montgomery Prize in U.S. labor history from the Organization of American Historians and the Labor and Working-Class History Association. She was also the lead historical consultant for the California Department of Justice team supporting the Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans from 2021 – 2022. She is currently working on a book on African American abolitionists and civil rights activists in the Pacific West entitled An Empire for Freedom.

Pacific Bound: California’s 1852 Fugitive Slave Law

In 1852, California legislators passed a harsh fugitive slave law that condemned dozens of African American migrants to deportation and lifelong slavery. Historian Stacey L. Smith examines the legal travails of three accused fugitive slaves to illuminate the social relations of slavery in gold rush … Read MorePacific Bound: California’s 1852 Fugitive Slave Law