Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp was installed as the Archer Alexander Distinguished Professor in a ceremony on Thursday, October 30, 2014, at Washington University in St. Louis.
The ceremony included remarks by Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton, Provost Holden Thorp, and John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics Director Marie Griffith. Professor Maffly-Kipp delivered the lecture, “‘A Wilderness is Rich with Liberty’: Freedom and Redemption in the American West,” which detailed the relationship between Archer Alexander and William Greenleaf Eliot, co-founder of Washington University in St. Louis. Alexander was born into slavery in Virginia and came to St. Louis, Missouri as an adult, where he obtained employment in the Eliot home. Alexander inspired Eliot’s 1885 account, The Story of Archer Alexander, From Slavery to Freedom, and his image was memorialized in the Emancipation Memorial in Washington, D.C.