Park University to Host Lecture Event on Gen. John “Black Jack” Pershing
October 24, 2023 — Park University’s Great War Institute, a division of the University’s George S. Robb Centre for the Study of the Great War, will host its second Great War Institute Lecture Series event with a discussion on “Pershing of the West: The Formative Days of ‘Black Jack’ Pershing in the American Frontier.” The talk will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 21, starting at 6:30 p.m. at The National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Mo., and streamed live. Admission to the event and livestream is free and open to the public, but reservations are requested at theworldwar.org/events.
Presenting the discussion will be Tim McNeese, Ph.D., chair and professor of history at York (Neb.) University, whose areas of expertise include American history, history of the U.S. West and 19th century America.
Those familiar with Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing know him as the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe during the latter days of World War I. But Pershing’s military career began in 1886 with his graduation from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point (N.Y.) and his first assignments in the American West as a horsebound cavalry officer during the final days of Apache resistance in the Southwest. During the next 30 years, Pershing experienced postings across the West, from the Dakota Territory to Montana and California to Texas. Even Pershing’s prolonged posting in the Philippines was a “western” experience as the archipelagic country in Southeast Asia represented a new American frontier abroad, even as the frontier days of the American West were closing. All of Pershing’s experiences in the American West prepared him for his ultimate assignment as the top U.S. commander during World War I.
McNeese, who has been with York since 1992, has had a dual career since his arrival. Over the past 30 years, McNeese has published more than 100 books, most of them for high school and middle school audiences, including Time in the Wilderness: The Formative Years of John “Black Jack” Pershing in the American West (University of Nebraska Press), which was honored with a Nebraska Book Award in Nonfiction Biography in 2022.
Prior to joining York, McNeese taught English, history, journalism and social studies for 16 years at Logan-Rogersville and Seymour high schools in Missouri. McNeese earned his doctorate degree in history from Faulkner University, a Master of Arts degree in history from Missouri State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Harding University. He also received an Associate of Arts degree from York.
Park University’s Great War Institute Lecture Series is presented in conjunction with The National World War I Museum and Memorial. For more information on Park University’s George S. Robb Centre for the Study of the Great War, visit gsr.park.edu.