Monday, April 8, 2013

Middlesex County Historical Society Annual Meeting

Lois Brown to Lecture at Annual Meeting of the Middlesex County Historical Society

So at any cost I will go”: Nineteenth-Century African American Journeys to the Civil War South will be the topic of this year’s Arthur M. Schultz Memorial Lecture to be delivered by Lois Brown at the annual meeting of the Middlesex County Historical Society on Tuesday, April 23.  Brown, the Class of 1958 Distinguished Professor at Wesleyan University, was recently seen by millions as a scholarly contributor and series advisor for the three part American Experience documentary series on PBS entitled The Abolitionists.

The history of African Americans in antebellum America often focuses on northward travels towards New England and Canadian destinations and their promise of freedom.  However, as the Civil War began, women and men of color began to contemplate how best to serve on the front lines of the war that would bring about the abolition of slavery, the conferring of citizenship upon people of African descent, and the right to vote for men of color.  Accounts of the unpredictable voyages that took prominent and lesser-known individuals to the South during the Civil War years provide compelling insights about nineteenth-century perspectives on land, patriotism, and self-determination.  This lecture will focus on the writings of educator Charlotte Forten and accounts recorded by soldiers in the 29th Connecticut Colored Regiment.  The illuminating reminiscences of African American soldiers and the forthright journals of Forten offer sobering and breathtaking portraits of America as it sought to preserve the union.

Professor Brown teaches in Wesleyan's African American Studies Program and in the English Department.  Her teaching, research, and scholarship focus on African American and New England literary history and culture, 18th and 19th -century African American memory, as well as the politics of identity, faith, and privilege in colonial and antebellum America.  She is the author of Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins: Black Daughter of the Revolution, a literary biography of the pioneering New England writer, dramatist, performer, and journalist.  She has also published an encyclopedia on the literary Harlem Renaissance and edited the first modern edition of the 1835 Memoir of James Jackson, The Attentive and Obedient Scholar aged Six Years and Eleven Months by Susan Paul.

The annual meeting will be held in the main auditorium of Congregation Adath Israel, 8 Broad Street in Middletown.  The business portion of the meeting will begin at 6:30 pm with the lecture to follow at 7:00 pm.  The synagogue is handicap accessible.  For more information, contact the Historical Society at 860-346-0746.

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