Jones Library Lecture Series

Slavery in the Valley:  Five Unsung Heroes Who Resisted, a lecture by Robert Romer, will be held on Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 2:30 pm as part of a nationwide lecture series, The Birth of a Nation: Slavery, Resistance and Abolition.

Slavery was widespread in the Connecticut Valley in colonial times, where most of the “important people” – including most of the ministers – owned two or three black slaves.  By no means did all of the enslaved people in the valley, some born in Africa, some born into slavery in America, passively accept their status as the property of white owners.  Romer will tell what is known of the stories of five who, in various ways, actively resisted and explain why it is important to remember those who lived here in slavery, the “invisible men and women” of our colonial past.

Robert H. Romer, physicist and historian, is Professor of Physics, Emeritus, at Amherst College, where he taught from 1955 to 2001, serving as editor of the American Journal of Physics from 1988 to 2001.  He is the author of Slavery in the Connecticut Valley of Massachusetts (Levellers Press, 2009) and The History of Hope Church in Amherst (2013), a manuscript held at the Special Collections Departments of Jones Library and Amherst College’s Frost Library. He was the 2012 recipient of the Amherst Historical Society’s Conch Shell Award, for distinguished contributions to the history of the town of Amherst.

Romer’s presentation is part of the national lecture series and community-building initiative, ‘The Birth of a Nation: Slavery, Resistance & Abolition.” Inspired by actor and director Nate Parker’s acclaimed film The Birth of a Nation, the lecture series will run August 21 through October 30, 2016, commemorating the history-changing slave rebellion launched by the film’s subject, Nat Turner, on August 21, 1831, through his capture on October 30, 1831.  It marks the 185th anniversary of Turner’s rebellion, as well as The United Nations’ International Day for the Remembrance of The Slave Trade and its Abolition, observed annually on August 23.

The lecture series is taking place in libraries, museums, institutions of higher education, and community centers around the nation during the period of August 21st and October 30th 2016. Each free public event features a local educator or historian addressing the topic of slavery, resistance and abolition, and will provide an opportunity for individual communities to engage in a timely and coordinated national discussion.

The series is presented in conjunction with the Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services at the American Library Association (ALA), The United Nations’ Remember Slavery Programme, Fox Searchlight Pictures and BazanED.

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