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The Color of Abolition: How a Printer, a Prophet, and a Contessa Moved a Nation
  • Date: Wednesday, March 23, 2022
  • Time: 1:00 pm
  • Location: Online

Author Linda Hirshman will discuss the alliance among Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, and Maria Weston Chapman—and how its breakup led to the success of an American social movement. In the crucial early years of the abolition movement, the Boston branch of the cause seized upon the star power of 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.

Through incisive, original analysis, Hirshman argues that the inevitable breakup was in fact a successful failure. Eventually 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 became immutable law.