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June 28, 2011

Constitutional historian Finkelman to talk at Pendleton

PENDLETON, Ind. — A collaboration of Indiana state agencies and organizations will host constitutional historian Dr. Paul Finkelman in two talks about slavery and Indiana.

Finkelman, of Albany Law School in New York, will be at the Pendleton Community Public Library, 595 E. Water St., at 6:30 p.m. July 13 to give a lecture about slavery, the Constitution and Indiana. The program is free and open to the public. Reservations are appreciated.

Register by calling Arlene Shannon at 778-7527 or email

At 3 p.m., Finkelman will conduct a continuing legal education class at the Indiana Supreme Court in Indianapolis to discuss the case Polly v. LaSalle.

The Supreme Court determined Indiana had banned slavery in 1816 and held Col. Hyacinth Lasselle’s claim to Polly Strong, an enslaved woman, violated the state constitution.

At this same talk, historian Dani Pfaff of the Indiana Historical Bureau will discuss recently found documentation that counters the common belief that the Polly case definitively ended slavery and indentured servitude in Indiana.

This program is a part of the Indiana Supreme Courts lecture series. This talk is free, but reservations are required. Contact the Indiana Supreme Court at (317) 232-2550 or

Finkelman has authored more than 150 scholarly articles and more than 25 books. His work on legal history and constitutional law has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court, numerous other courts, and in many appellate briefs.

Pfaff has been with the Indiana Historical Bureau for over 20 years and serves as the research historian for all historical markers related to the Underground Railroad, slavery, and other related content.

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