Willamette Professor to Speak at Smithsonian

William "Bill" Gould, William M. Ramsey Distinguished Professor of Law at Willamette, will speak May 1 at a half-day seminar, "Lives Under Slavery," at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.. Gould will talk about his grandfather, William B. Gould, who was an escaped slave who served in the United States Navy from 1862 through 1865 as a "contraband sailor," while his nation was fighting a war about his right to be a an equal citizen. Gould's 2002 book, Diary of a Contraband: The Civil War Passage of a Black Sailor, was based on the diary Gould's grandfather kept during his voyages at sea.

Gould, who joined Willamette's faculty in 2002, is one of the country's most prominent and influential experts in labor law. He has taught at Stanford University since 1972. Since then, he has also taught or lectured as visiting professor at Harvard, Howard, and Cambridge, and in Canberra, Florence, Honolulu, Tokyo, and Johannesburg.

In 1994, Gould was appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate to a four-year term as chairman of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), one of only three academics to ever serve in that position. During his tenure as NLRB chairman, he fought vigorously for fairer labor practices in the United States.

Writing the book about his grandfather was a personal journey that gave Gould many insights the Civil War and slaves' struggle for freedom. Senator Mark O. Hatfield wrote in the forward to Gould's book, "…William B. Gould IV has delivered something both inspirational and of real consequence to the world of American history. …the reader is able to look back over 140 years and view the life of a slave who seized his freedom and embarked on a journey rich in historical significance and overflowing with personal drama and danger."

Gould will be available after the event to sign copies of his book. Tickets for the seminar can be ordered online.