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A Latvian Exile Comes to America with Joseph Ellis

November 1 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am EDT

TOPIC: Karlis Leyasmeyer and the Baptist Speaker’s Circuit: A Latvian Exile Comes to America

SPEAKER: Joseph Ellis, Professor of Political Science, Assistant Dean of Arts and Sciences, Wingate University

In 1949, a little known Latvian refugee named Karlis Leyasmeyer would arrive with his family in Philadelphia, after several years spent at a displaced persons camp in Germany. In less than a year, Leyasmeyer was traveling North America as a highly desired speaker in evangelical circles, speaking on the evils of communism and the glory of God. How did Leyasmeyer — a recent political exile — achieve such notoriety in such a short period of time, and what does this tell us about anti-communist movements in the 1950s among recent refugees? And what became of his life after, the final thirty years of which he spent in North Carolina, settling in Boone, and attending a small, country church in relative obscurity?

NOTE: Attend in-person at PUMC, no registration required. Attend via Zoom, please register with the Zoom link above.


Joseph M. Ellis is a Professor of Political Science at Wingate University in Wingate, North Carolina. He received his B.A. from Winthrop University and his M.A. and Ph.D from Temple University, all in the discipline of political science. His research interests include the Baltic States, Scandinavia, and Russia. His wife, Joanna, is a school counselor, and he has three children, Lena (14), Beau (12), and Dean (9).

  • A History of the Baltic States, by Andres Kasekamp
  • The Latvians: A Short History, by Andrejs Plakans
  • American Latvians: Politics of a Refugee Community, by Ieva Zake


November 1
10:00 am - 11:00 am EDT
Event Category:


Senior Scholars


Hybrid: In-Person at PUMC & via Zoom
2810 Providence Rd
Charlotte, NC 28211 United States
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