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Slavery’s Determined Foe: Amanda Gilvin and Laura McDonald on the Legacy of John Brown

January 24, 2019 7:00 PM — 8:00 PM


Concord is home to the flashpoint of a revolution, discussions of protest, peace and war, and the people who defined American ideals. Inspired by this past, the Concord Perspectives series uses history as a lens to analyze present issues of power, protest, and society. This presentation brings together two scholars to discuss John Brown, the complex figure who led the raid on Harpers Ferry and inspired Concordians like Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Dr. Amanda Gilvin will discuss the Davis Museum’s Fall 2018 exhibition, Jacob Lawrence: The Legend of John Brown. The famous artist created his fifth series of history paintings in gouache on the famous abolitionist in 1941. Lawrence then made a portfolio of screen prints based on the series in 1974. Through his distinctive visual style and carefully researched titles, Lawrence portrayed a complex, imperfect hero.

Amanda Gilvin is an art historian and curator who writes about textiles, contemporary art, and museums of Africa and the African Diaspora.  She is an Assistant Curator at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College.

Laura McDonald will present on the a bust of the late abolitionist John Brown recently rediscovered at Tufts University, and which stands as a symbol of Brown’s ardent fight against slavery and his pivotal role in the events leading up to the beginnings of the Civil War. The official unveiling of the bust occurred on the evening of New Year’s Day in 1863 during a commemoration of the Emancipation Proclamation and an event to honor the memory of John Brown. Among those invited were Ralph Waldo Emerson, Franklin Sanborn, Julia Ward Howe, Bronson Alcott, and William Lloyd Garrison.

Laura McDonald is the Art Collection Registrar at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts and she oversees the registration, management, installation and logistics for a collection spread across four campuses and sited in over 50 buildings.

Members free, Nonmembers $5.

Snow Date: Tuesday, January 29th 7:00-8:00 p.m.

Image caption: Edward Augustus Brackett, John Brown, 1860, marble, Tufts University Permanent Collection:Gift of the Stearns Estate, Photo courtesy: Christian Whitworth

To register, fill out the form below.


January 24
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm