Friday, January 23, 2009

Maurice Jackson at the Library of Congress, February 26

Dr. Maurice Jackson will discuss his new book, Let This Voice Be Heard: Anthony Benezet, Father of Atlantic Abolitionism, at the Library of Congress from 4-5 on February 26. Here's information adapted from the invitation:

Anthony Benezet is recognized as the founder of the antislavery movement in America in the mid-1700s. Benezet believed the British ban on slavery should have been extended to the colonies, and worked to convince his Quaker brethren that slave-owning was not consistent with Christian doctrine.... A book sale and signing will follow the lecture, which is sponsored by the Library’s John W. Kluge Center.

Benezet transformed Quaker anti-slavery sentiment into a broad-based transatlantic movement. According to Jackson, Benezet translated ideas from diverse sources – Enlightenment philosophy, African travel narratives, Quakerism, practical life and the Bible – into concrete action. He founded the African Free School in Philadelphia, where future abolitionist leaders Absalom Jones and James Forten studied. Jackson, a former Kluge Fellow at the Library of Congress, teaches Atlantic and African-American history at Georgetown. He currently is at work on a social, political and cultural history of African Americans in Washington D.C. (1790 to the present). He is co-editor, with Jackie Bacon, of "African-Americans and the Haitian Revolution: Selected Essays and Historical Documents," to be published in 2010. Jackson will be inducted into the Washington, D.C., Hall of Fame in April for his years of service to the people in the nation’s capital.

The lecture is free and open to the public; tickets and reservations are not required.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A ringside seat to history

UPDATE January 21. Now I know why it was so easy to get in from the Georgetown side. Crowds were held back at various checkpoints elsewhere, and were unable to use their valid tickets to see the inauguration. That's sad, and I wish that my good fortune hadn't occurred while someone else in the city didn't get to be there. I didn't actually take a seat from anyone (it was almost deserted on the side I walked through), but I now know that many Blue ticket holders were disappointed.

Here is the original post from yesterday:

This has nothing to do with books, but it is so remarkable I had to post it. Today at 11:30 a.m. I was able to walk from my Georgetown home to the Watergate, grab a taxi (because it was so cold, and cabs were plentiful), and make it within two blocks of the Lincoln Memorial. No crowds! I walked right up to the very steps of the Lincoln Memorial and listened to the new President's inaugural speech from that amazing vantage point. I had a perfect view of the Reflecting Pool, the Washington Monument, and behind it, the Capitol. I call it the "Forrest Gump" angle (this photo is from the movie and shows almost exactly where I stood).

No one ever once asked me for a ticket (even though I was in a Blue ticket area), and I was not questioned by any police or guards. Going back to Georgetown was also a breeze. I walked to George Washington University and hailed a taxi at the traffic circle.

What may have happened was that the people who came at three or four in the morning got frozen out and left, and others may not have been able to get into the city at all because of congestion in the subways.

All I know is that I had a beautiful trip on a sunny, 35-degree day, I stood in an historic place as people around me wept, clapped and prayed, and I was able to return home in an orderly manner. The insane Washington of the newspapers and the blogs wasn't in evidence. It was lovely.