Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Announcing New Civil War Programs, No Registration Required

As part of the Library's commemoration of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, a variety of special events and lectures will be scheduled throughout the upcoming months. Events have been made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association, and include the following programs:

Tuesday, February 28th, 7 pm
Susan Strane: A Whole-Souled Woman: Prudence Crandall and the Education of Black Women
Susan will discuss her book on Prudence Crandall, who opened the first boarding school in America for African-American girls in Canterbury, Ct. in 1833. She advertised her school as a seminary for "young ladies and little misses of color." The town, however, was not pleased and their presence led to boycotts, intimidation, and the poisoning of their well. The school had become a cause celebre among abolitionists. Its defense was one of the first campaigns of the great William Lloyd Garrison.

Wednesday, March 14th, 7 pm
Martha’s Vineyard Poetry Society : Civil War Era Poetry
During the Civil War, thousands of poems about the conflict were written by everyday citizens from the North and the South. These poems appeared in a variety of print formats, including newspapers, periodicals, broadsheets, and song sheets. These poems enable us to better understand the role of poetry during the war years and how poetry helped unify citizens, inspire troops, memorialize the dead, and bind the nation's wounds in the aftermath of the war. Drawing from the well-known poets of the period, including Walt Whitman, John Greenleaf Whittier, Herman Melville, Francis Orray Tickner, and George Henry Boker, the Martha's Vineyard Poetry Society will present an evening of poetry readings. Library of Congress Poetry Resources: http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/lcpoetry/cwvc.html

Sunday, April 22nd, 4 pm
Sparky and Rhonda Rucker: The Blue and Gray in Black and White

Sparky & Rhonda Rucker's presentation will include stories from the American Civil War portrayed through music and in narrative and will focus on the war's impact on the different regions of our country. The stories, some sad and some humorous, reflect personal insights from the various personalities who participated in the war. Since more songs came out of the Civil War than any other war in history, they will have a large repertoire of music to draw upon. They will sing slave songs, and songs from the Underground Railroad, while accompanying themselves with finger style picking and bottleneck blues guitar, harmonica, old-time banjo, slide guitar, piano, spoons, and bones.

As much a folklorist and community historian as a performer, Sparky Rucker has combined his love for blues and songs from the Black ballad tradition with a desire to both educate and entertain. Rhonda, a versatile performer, joins Sparky playing blues harmonica, piano, banjo, and adding vocal harmonies. They have been featured tellers at the International Storytelling Center and Festival, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and on NPR's On Point. Join us for an afternoon of fun, history and songs for the whole family. This program is free of charge with a reception to follow.

Wednesday, April 25th, 7 pm
John Hough Jr. Seen the Glory: a Novel of the Battle of Gettysburg

John Hough tells the story of Luke and Thomas Chandler, who grew up on Martha's Vineyard, raised by their abolitionist father and Rose, their headstrong and beautiful Cape Verdean housekeeper. When a recruiter comes to the island, the boys, who have already witnessed their father and Rose helping a runaway slave to freedom and who are determined to join the fight against slavery, eagerly enlist in the storied Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.

Tuesday, May 1st, 7 pm
John Sundman: Lincoln at Gettysburg: the Words That Remade America

John Sundman will present a discussion of Gary Wills’, Pulitzer Prize winning book, Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America. Wills’ thesis is that the Gettysburg Address came to define not only the meaning of the war, but the meaning of America. Subjects under discussion will include the rhetorical devices Lincoln used and his implicit arguments about the nature of the Union and its relationship to freedom.

Tuesday May 15th, 7 pm
Patricia Sullivan: “One Hundred Years of Freedom?”

When John F. Kennedy was inaugurated in January 1961, the hundredth anniversary of the Civil War loomed larger in the national consciousness than the emerging Civil Rights Movement. Historian Patricia Sullivan will discuss how rising black protests in the South converged with the Civil War centennial, challenging public memory and historical accounts of the war, its meaning, and its legacies.

Also in May (dates to be announced), Jim Thomas, founder of the U.S. Slave Song Project, will talk and the interpretation of codes used in the slave songs for the underground railroad, and Robert Hayden, President of The Martha’s Vineyard Chapter of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, will trace the history of his family, the battles they were involved in, and their journey to Martha’s Vineyard as freed slaves.

Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War", has been made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association.

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