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The Interior Library is proud to present a series of programs on the background and history of sites of interest in the Washington, D.C. region, as well as subjects highlighting the history of the United States.  The 45-minute programs, presented by National Park Service Rangers, are held in the Stewart L. Udall Department of the Interior Building

To register for a future Park Ranger Speaker Series program, please click here. For more information about our Park Ranger Speaker Series programs, please contact the Interior Library by phone at (202) 208-5815 or e-mail at library@ios.doi.gov.

Additional Park Ranger Speaker Series programs will be posted as they are scheduled. Please check this page regularly for changes or updates.

All programs scheduled through 2015 will be held in the John Muir Room, which is located on the ground level of the Main Interior Building.

Japanese Imperialism and the Path to World War II
Tuesday, January 20, 2015, 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm

The origins of Japanese imperial ambitions in the Pacific can be traced to the beginning of the Meiji Restoration in the late 1860’s. Confidence in Japan’s military capabilities heightened after the Japanese successfully defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese war during the first decade of the 20th century. By the time of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles ending the World War I in 1919, a war in which Japan found itself on the victorious side, many on the island nation already started turning their eyes towards other territories in Asia and the Pacific. Imperial Japan hoped to create a sphere of influence similar to that of Great Britain in Africa and Asia, one where the natural and human resources of these areas could be utilized to help build a modern and powerful Japanese Empire.

Please join Park Ranger Paul O’Brian as he examines the metamorphosis of Japan from a quiet island nation into an Imperial power in the 1930’s. Ranger O’Brian will attempt to answer two questions that still remain regarding Japan’s transformation; why imperialism and why this path to the Second World War?

Emporer Hirohito

A Regular Slave Hunt: The Army of Northern Virginia and Black Civilians in the Gettysburg Campaign

Tuesday, February 17, 2015, 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm

One of the great overlooked stories of the Gettysburg Campaign is the abduction of free blacks and fugitive slaves from their homes in south-central Pennsylvania.  African-Americans had first come to this region in the mid-eighteenth century as slaves of local settlers. In 1780 the Pennsylvania Assembly passed a law that allowed for their emancipation by July 4, 1827.  Thus, by the outbreak of the Civil War, free blacks had been living in the area for some time.  During the Gettysburg Campaign, soldiers in the Army of Northern Virginia systematically rounded up free blacks and escaped slaves as they marched north into Maryland and Pennsylvania. Men, women and children were all swept up and brought along with the army as it moved north, and carried back into Virginia during the army’s retreat after the battle. While specific numbers cannot be known, the total may have been over a thousand African Americans. Once back in Confederate-held territory, they were returned to their former owners, sold at auction or imprisoned.

Please join Park Ranger Ted Alexander, senior staff historian at Antietam National Battlefield, for a look at this tragic and forgotten about chapter of the Gettysburg Campaign.

Slave Drive