Oliver Horton is the Benjamin Banneker
Professor Emeritus of American Studies and History
at George Washington University. He taught at the
university for 31 years before retiring in 2008.
He is also Historian Emeritus at the National Museum
of American History at the Smithsonian Institution,
and during Spring Semesters, Visiting Professor
of American Studies at the University of Hawaii.
He received his Ph.D. in history from Brandeis University
in 1973 and taught at the University of Michigan
from 1973 until 1977 when he moved to George Washington
University. He was Senior Fulbright Professor of
American Studies at the University of Munich, in
Germany in1988-89 and the John Adams Distinguished
Fulbright Chair in American History at the University
of Leiden in the Netherlands in the fall of 2003.
He has also lectured throughout Europe and in Thailand
and Japan. In 1991 he assisted the German government
in developing American Studies programs in the former
East Germany. In 1993 Professor Horton was appointed
by Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt to serve
on the National Park System Advisory Board and in
1996 he was elected board chair. In 1994-5 he served
as Senior Advisor on Historical Interpretation and
Public Education for the Director of the National
Horton has been recognized for teaching excellence,
receiving The Carnegie Foundation, CASE Professor
of the Year for the District of Columbia, in 1996
and the Trachtenberg Distinguished Teaching Award
for George Washington University, 1994. In 2006
he received the George Washington University President's
Medal. Past recipients of this award include Mikhail
Gorbachev, Walter Cronkite, Israeli Prime Minister
and Nobel Laureate Shimon Peres, and United States
Senators William First and Joseph Lieberman.
Horton has also served as historical advisor to
several museums in the United States and abroad,
including the Underground Railroad Freedom Center
in Cincinnati, OH, the National Civil Rights Museum
in Memphis, TN, Colonial Williamsburg, and Monticello.
An advocate of public history, he has been a historical
consultant to numerous film and video productions
including those seen on ABC, PBS, the Discovery
Channels, C-Span TV, and the History Channel. He
also appears in the DVD version of the movie "Glory."
and was a historical consultant for and appeared
in the 2004 PBS series, “Slavery and the Making
of America.” In February, 2002, he hosted
The History Channel TV Special, “A Fragile
Freedom: African American Historic Sites,”
based on his Oxford University Press book, The Landmarks
of African American History. Professor Horton was
also historical advisor for the 2005 History Channel
series, “Ten Days That Unexpectedly Changed
America,” which won the 2006 Emmy Award for
best nonfiction TV series.
1998 to 2000 Professor Horton worked with the White
House Millennium Council, acting as “historical
expert” for then First Lady Hillary Rodham
Clinton. He traveled with the First Lady's "Save
American Treasures" bus tour of historic places
in the summer of 1998 and accompanied her on a tour
of historic sites in Boston in the winter of 1998.
In the fall of 2000, he was appointed by President
William Clinton to serve on the Abraham Lincoln
Bicentennial Commission, of which he is still a
2004-5 Professor Horton was the President of the
Organization of American Historians, and in May,
2005 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane
Letters by Wagner College. In February of 2005 Professor
Horton was honored with the “Living Legend
Award” by the African American Museum of Boston.
In 2006 Professor Horton was elected to the National
Academy of Arts and Sciences. In the spring of 2009,
the University of Hawaii presented him with its
“Distinguished Alumni Award.”
EXHIBITIONS: Chief Historian for, “Slavery
in New York,” an exhibition at the New York
Historical Society, October 2005- March 2006, winner
of the Crystal Apple Award as best exhibit in New
York City in 2005.
at Last: A History of the Abolition of Slavery,"
a traveling exhibit curated with David Brion Davis,
opened Fall, 1997 at Fifth/Third Bank Exhibition
Gallery, Cincinnati and Independence Hall, New York
City and is currently touring the United States
and Public History: The Tough Stuff of American
Memory (New Press, 2006)
co-editor with Lois E. Horton
of Magnificent Intentions, A History of the District
of Columbia (Intac, Inc., Washington, D.C., 1983),
Pilot Series editor.
Bostonians: Family Life and Community Struggle in
the Antebellum North (Holmes and Meier Publishers,
New York, 1979, Second edition, 2000), coauthored
with Lois E. Horton.