Academic Historian

Stacey Smith is assistant professor of history at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. She earned her Ph.D. in U.S. history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Smith specializes in the history of the American West and the Civil War and Reconstruction eras, and her scholarship strives to bring these two fields together by examining the complexities of slavery and the black freedom struggle in the nineteenth-century Pacific West. She is the author of Freedom’s Frontier: California and the Struggle over Unfree Labor, Emancipation, and Reconstruction (University of North Carolina Press, 2013) and “Remaking Slavery in a Free State: Masters and Slaves in Gold Rush California” in the Pacific Historical Review, 80:1 (February 2011): 28-63.

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