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VIRTUAL BOOK TALK: The Color of Abolition: How a Printer, a Prophet, and a Contessa Moved a Nation

Wednesday, February 23, 2022 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Registration is requested

VIRTUAL TICKETS | Members and Visitors Free

LOCATION | Zoom

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VIRTUAL BOOK TALK: The Color of Abolition: How a Printer, a Prophet, and a Contessa Moved a Nation

with Linda Hirshman

In the crucial early years of the Abolition movement, the Boston branch of the cause seized upon the star power of the eloquent ex-slave Frederick Douglass to make its case for slaves’ freedom. Journalist William Lloyd Garrison promoted emancipation while Garrison loyalist Maria Weston Chapman, known as “the Contessa,” raised money and managed Douglass’s speaking tour from her Boston townhouse.
 

Conventional histories have seen Douglass’s departure for the New York wing of the Abolition party as a result of a rift between Douglass and Garrison. But, as acclaimed historian Linda Hirshman reveals, this completely misses the woman in power. Weston Chapman wrote cutting letters to Douglass, doubting his loyalty; the Bostonian abolitionists were shot through with racist prejudice, even aiming the N-word at Douglass among themselves. Through incisive, original analysis, Hirshman convinces that the inevitable breakup was in fact a successful failure.Eventually, as the most sought-after Black activist in America, Douglass was able to dangle the prize of his endorsement over the Republican Party’s candidate for President, Abraham Lincoln. Two years later the abolition of slavery—if not the abolition of racism—became immutable law.

Linda Hirshman is the author of Reckoning: The Epic Battle Against Sexual Abuse and Harassment, and of the New York Times best-selling Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World.

 

PURCHASE The Color of Abolition from our partner, Harvard Book Store.

 

 
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Auto-generated captions are available for most virtual programs. To request live captioning or other accommodations, please contact Hannah Weisman at weisman@bostonathenaeum.org or 617-720-7617 at least four business days prior to the event.