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This series contains audio from lectures given in person or online at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture by renowned authors on historical topics. The content and opinions expressed by guest lecturers in these presentations are solely those of the speaker and not necessarily of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.To view a video of the lecture, visit VirginiaHistory.org/video. The Virginia Museum of History & Culture is owned and operated by the Virginia Historical Society — a pri ...
 
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Best-selling author and journalist Kristen Green joins Dr. Carolivia Herron to discuss the subject of Green’s book and Herron’s ancestor, Mary Lumpkin, an enslaved woman who liberated an infamous slave jail and transformed it into one of the nation’s first HBCUs.The Devil's Half Acre: The Untold Story of How One Woman Liberated the South's Most Not…
 
Join historian Terry Alford for a fascinating lecture about his newest book, In the Houses of Their Dead: The Lincolns, the Booths, and the Spirits.Two families, one at the nation’s political summit and one at its theatrical, were bound together in the Civil War period by their fascination with spiritualism. Abraham and Mary Lincoln turned to the s…
 
Join writer Derek Baxter for a lecture about his book, In Pursuit of Jefferson: Traveling through Europe with the Most Perplexing Founding Father.In 1788, when two young countrymen asked Thomas Jefferson for advice on where to go on their own journey, he wrote them a 5,000-word letter he entitled Hints to Americans Travelling in Europe, instructing…
 
Join Catherine Ingrassia for a fascinating discussion of her latest book, “Domestic Captivity and the British Subject, 1660–1750.”Indentured servitude was common in colonial America. When voluntary, it allegedly offered dispossessed British subjects the opportunity to improve their situation after their term. However, the practice of kidnapping or …
 
Was the American Revolution really a revolution? Was George Washington a great general? Was the American victory a miracle or inevitable? Dr. Joseph Ellis will explore these questions and more in his lecture on "The Cause," complicating conventional narratives to present a richly nuanced vision of this foundational moment in American history. A lan…
 
Join historian Daniel Thorp for a lecture about his latest book, In The True Blue’s Wake: Slavery and Freedom among the Families of Smithfield Plantation. In 1759, William Preston purchased sixteen enslaved Africans brought to Maryland aboard the True Blue, an English slave ship. Over the next century, the Prestons enslaved more than 200 individual…
 
Transportation was not merely a way to move about the state or country. The ability to travel across the United States became highly restricted as early as the Scott v. Stanford (1857) case, which denied Dred Scott’s claim to freedom and citizenship after relocating from a free to a slave state. Nearly a century later, the Montgomery Bus Boycott he…
 
Join Curator Karen Sherry for a conversation with William and Ann Oppenhimer, long-time collectors and advocates of folk art, as they share stories about their work in the field and about the objects currently on view at the VMHC in "Visionary Virginians: The Folk Art Collection of William and Ann Oppenhimer."…
 
Join historian Samantha Rosenthal for a lecture about an LGBTQ community in Roanoke, Virginia, and how queer people today think about the past and how history lives on in the present. Queer history is a living practice. Talk to any group of LGBTQ people today, and they will not agree on what story should be told. In her book Living Queer History, S…
 
Join author Jan Meck for a thoughtful talk and discussion of their new book, The Life and Legacy of Enslaved Virginian Emily Winfree.The Life and Legacy of Enslaved Virginian Emily Winfree tells the true story of an African American woman who was the embodiment of courage, love, and determination. Given a small cottage after the Civil War by her fo…
 
On April 20, 2022, historian James Horn delivered the 2022 Stuart G. Christian, Jr. Lecture about his book, A Brave and Cunning Prince: The Great Chief Opechancanough and the War for America.In 1561, an Indian youth was abducted from Virginia by Spanish explorers and taken to Spain. Called by the Spanish Paquiquineo and subsequently Don Luís, he wa…
 
Join historian Bruce A. Ragsdale on December 9, 2021 for a discussion of his On December 9, 2021, historian Bruce A. Ragsdale presented a lecture about his book, Washington at the Plow: The Founding Farmer and the Question of Slavery.For more than forty years, George Washington was dedicated to an innovative and experimental course of farming at Mo…
 
For generations, many have flocked to the shores of southeastern Virginia for its beaches, resorts, and seasonal fun at its many destinations. In this lecture from June 2, 2022, award-nominated nonfiction author and historian Nancy E. Sheppard takes a trip down “Memory Lane” to visit some of the beloved but lost attractions of Hampton Roads, includ…
 
In this lecture on May 24, 2022, historian Alex Kershaw spoke about his book, Against All Odds: A True Story of Ultimate Courage and Survival in World War II.As the Allies raced to defeat Hitler, four men, all in the same unit, earned medal after medal for battlefield heroism: Maurice “Footsie” Britt, Michael Daly, Keith Ware, and a baby-faced Texa…
 
George Washington Parke Custis was raised at Mount Vernon by George and Martha Washington. Young “Wash” appears in Edward Savage's 1789 painting of the first presidential family, his small hand placed symbolically on a globe. He would later mark the national landscape by building Arlington House on the Potomac. A poor student, he emerged as an agri…
 
On April 28, 2022, historian Jane Turner Censer presented a lecture about the literary career of Amélie Rives.By 1890, Amélie Rives was well-known all over America, both as the author of a scandalous novel and as a beauty who had married a very wealthy heir of New York’s Astor family. Only five years earlier, Rives, then a twenty-two-year-old livin…
 
On March 24, 2022, Carl R. Lounsbury discussed the four centuries of Chesapeake history as revealed through material world of Eyre Hall. Erected in 1759 on the Eastern Shore, Eyre Hall is still occupied by descendants of its builder, Littleton Eyre. Since construction, succeeding generations acquired and preserved a rich variety of documents and ob…
 
On April 7, 2022, Kimberly C. Borchard presented a lecture about the 500-year-old myth of Appalachian gold and its catastrophic consequences for the Native Floridians that gave Appalachia its name.Growing up in rural Appalachia, Kim Borchard was well-acquainted with stereotypes of Appalachian poverty and backwardness. For that reason, she was struc…
 
On March 15, 2022, Dr. Charles Bryan and VMHC president and CEO Jamie Bosket had a conversation about some of the topics covered in Dr. Bryan’s latest book, "Imperfect Past Volume II: More History in a New Light."The late southern writer John Egerton observed that there are three kinds of history: what actually happened, what we are told happened, …
 
Interested in addressing a problem, making something better, or helping others in your community? Whether you are a veteran activist or a novice eager to get started, the global pandemic has impacted the ways in which we can advocate for change.Join a panel of today’s changemakers as they discuss how to tap into your passion, get involved in a caus…
 
In this virtual event on February 19, 2021, VMHC Curator Karen Sherry led audiences in a conversation with Dr. Gladys West. This Dinwiddie County native helped develop GPS and other satellite mapping technology during her long career at the Naval Surface Weapons Center at Dahlgren, Virginia. Dr. West shared stories from her remarkable life, includi…
 
On November 12 , 2018, Richard Brookhiser delivered the banner lecture, “John Marshall: The Man Who Made the Supreme Court.”In 1801, a genial and brilliant Revolutionary War veteran and politician became the fourth Chief Justice of the United States. He would hold the post for thirty-four years (still a record), expounding the Constitution he loved…
 
On January 13, 2022 Dr. Mary A. DeCredico had a discussion of Richmond and its people during the Civil War.Confederate Citadel: Richmond and its People at War offers a detailed portrait of life’s daily hardships in the rebel capital during the Civil War. Drawing on personal correspondence, private diaries, and newspapers, historian Mary A. DeCredic…
 
On October 28, 2020, Harold Holzer delivered a lecture titled "The Presidents vs. the Press"Since America’s first president began the very first presidential feud with the press, American chief executives have been engaged in an endless struggle with journalists for control of the reporting that constitutes the first draft of history. This presenta…
 
On March 10, 2022 Gayle Jessup White, author of Reclamation: Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson, and a Descendant’s a Search for Her Family’s Lasting Legacy, discussed her 50-year journey to confirm her family’s oral history that they are descended from the country’s third president.Growing up in Black middle-class Washington, DC, Jessup White was 13 …
 
On February 24, 2022 historians Brian Daugherity and Alyce Miller delivered a lecture about Black educational activism in Goochland County in the early twentieth century.In this lecture, based on their award-winning article published in the Virginia Magazine of History & Biography in 2020, Brian Daugherity and Alyce Miller will analyze community ef…
 
On February 10, 2022 historian William Blair had a discussion of the early Reconstruction era effort by Freedmen’s Bureau officers to document that Black Americans faced little justice for atrocities committed against them.We tend to think our current situation unique in featuring partisan bubbles in which people mistrust information from the other…
 
On November 11, 2021 historian Caroline E. Janney had a discussion about her book on Lee’s army after Appomattox.In her dramatic new history of the weeks and months after Appomattox, Ends of War: The Unfinished Fight of Lee’s Army after Appomattox, Caroline E. Janney reveals that Lee’s surrender was less an ending than the start of an interregnum m…
 
On October 20,2021 writer Catherine Baab-Muguira held a lively and informative lecture to look at Edgar Allan Poe and how his life can teach us counterintuitive lessons on achieving creative success.Edgar Allan Poe led one of the saddest lives ever. He lost virtually everyone he loved, and his grinding poverty meant that he and his family were some…
 
Join bestselling author Nathaniel Philbrick on October 20, 2021, who delivered the J. Harvie Wilkinson, Jr. Lecture based on his newest book, “Travels with George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy."When George Washington became president in 1789, he undertook a tour of the ex-colonies to talk to ordinary citizens about his new government, and…
 
On October 7, 2021 A. E. Dick Howard held a discussion about the evolution of Virginia’s Constitution from 1776 to the present day.Virginia’s Declaration of Rights (1776) declares all men to be “equally free and independent.” But, as to the suffrage, the Declaration speaks in more qualified terms; there must be “sufficient evidence of permanent com…
 
On September 15, 2021 historian David O. Stewart discussed on his book about George Washington and his rise as a leaderWashington’s rise constitutes one of the great self-reinventions in history. In his mid-twenties, this third son of a modest Virginia planter had ruined his own military career in the French and Indian War through poor judgments an…
 
On September 2, 2021 historian Robert P. Watson held a discussed his book about the Confederacy’s infamous Libby Prison and the Civil War’s largest jail break.Robert Watson provides the definitive account of the Confederacy’s infamous Libby Prison, site of the Civil War’s largest prison break. Libby Prison housed Union officers, high-profile foes o…
 
On August 19, 2021 historian John Reeves discussed the battle of the Wilderness, the first clash between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee.John Reeves has been a teacher, editor, and writer for more than twenty-five years. The Civil War, in particular, has been his passion since he first read Bruce Catton’s The American Heritage Picture History of…
 
On July 15, 2021 historian Carolyn Eastman exanimated the career of James Ogilvie, a now-forgotten celebrity of the very early nineteenth century, and what it tells us about the intersection of political culture and celebrity—at a moment when the United States was in the midst of invention.Carolyn Eastman is an associate professor of history at Vir…
 
On June 24, 2021 historian Vanessa Holden had discussion of her book about how women contributed to America’s most famous slave rebellion, often called Nat Turner’s Rebellion.In this talk Dr. Holden will speak about material from her forthcoming book, "Surviving Southampton: African American Women and Resistance in Nat Turner’s Community." She will…
 
On May 20, 2021, Christopher Leahy delivered the banner lecture, “President without a Party”The first president to ascend to the office because of the incumbent’s death, John Tyler also remains the nation’s only chief executive to have been kicked out of his own political party. In September 1841, angry that Tyler’s use of the veto destroyed their …
 
On May 5, 2021, Ty Seidule as he delivered a lecture about his book, "Robert E. Lee and Me: A Southerner’s Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause"In a forceful but humane narrative, former soldier and head of the West Point history department Ty Seidule's Robert E. Lee and Me challenges the myths and lies of the Confederate legacy―and explores w…
 
On April 8, 2021, Ryan K. Smith explored the history and recovery of the burial grounds of Richmond, Virginia, through the lens of race.Virginia's capital holds one of the most dramatic landscapes of death in the nation, with graveyards dating from the city's founding through the Civil War, emancipation, and the long road that followed. Yet too oft…
 
On March 18, 2021, Jeffrey R. Kerr-Ritchie delivered the banner lecture, “Rebellious Passage: The Creole Revolt and America's Coastal Slave Trade”In late October 1841, the Creole left Richmond with 137 slaves bound for New Orleans. It arrived five weeks later minus the captain, one passenger, and most of the captives. Nineteen rebels had seized the…
 
On February 11, 2021 historian Ric Murphy told fascinating story of the arrival of the first Africans in Virginia in 1619.Based on his book, "Arrival of the First Africans in Virginia," author Ric Murphy will discuss how in 1619, a group of thirty-two African men, women, and children arrived on the shores of Virginia. He will explore how and why th…
 
On January 14, 2021 author and historian Scott Dawson delivered the lecture "The Lost Colony was Never Lost!"Scott Dawson has participated in ten years of archaeological digs on Hatteras Island, where it was discovered that the infamous Lost Colony assimilated with the local Croatoan Indians. The true history has been buried under a mountain of myt…
 
On December 10, 2020, Ralph Hambrick delivered the banner lecture, “Transforming the James River in Richmond”The James River has always been the centerpiece of Richmond, but by the mid-twentieth century it had been abused and neglected. Today, the river draws visitors to its wooded shorelines, restored canal, and feisty rapids. At the local level, …
 
Nov 10, 2020, Dr. Peter R. Henriques delivered the banner lecture, “What Made George Washington Tick”George Washington very much wanted to be famous. Yet, he did not wish to be known, and there is a remoteness about him that will perhaps always remain. The fact that we cannot fully understand him, however, does not mean we cannot understand him bet…
 
On Nov 4, 2020, Dr. Christian Kelle delivered the banner lecture, “The Great Partnership: Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson”This Banner Lecture on November 4, 2020 by historian Christian Keller tells the story of the unique relationship between Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. Jackson. Why were Generals Lee and Jackson so successful in their partnership …
 
On September 16, 2020, delivered the banner lecture, “Restoring America’s Most Significant Gardens”The story of the Garden Club of Virginia is colorful, courageous, and impressive. It is not a coincidence that 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the women’s suffrage movement, heralding a new age of female participation in American civic life. Conce…
 
On September 10,2020, Nicole Maurantonio delivered the banner lecture, “Confederate Exceptionalism: Civil War Myth and Memory in the Twenty-First Century”How do so-called neo-Confederates distance themselves from the actions and beliefs of white supremacists while clinging to the very symbols and narratives that tether the Confederacy to the histor…
 
On August 13, 2020, Nicole Myers Turner delivered the banner lecture, “Soul Liberty: The Evolution of Black Religious Politics in Postemancipation Virginia”That churches are one of the most important cornerstones of black political organization is a commonplace. In her new history of African American Protestantism and American politics at the end o…
 
On July 9, 2020, Lindsay M. Chervinsky delivered the banner lecture, “The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution”On November 26, 1791, after waiting two and a half years into his presidency, George Washington convened his department secretaries―Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Henry Knox, and Edmund Randolph―for…
 
on June 4, 2020, Dr. Christian Keller delivered the banner lecture, “Freedom and Unfreedom in the Great Dismal Swamp”In his book, City of Refuge: Slavery and Petit Marronage in the Great Dismal Swamp, 1763–1856," Nevius examines petit marronage, an informal slave’s economy, and the construction of internal improvements in the Great Dismal Swamp of …
 
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