The parallel lives of two 19th century giants, Lincoln and Douglass, is subject of First Wednesday talk

BRATTLEBORO — The March 6 Vermont Humanities Program hosted at Brooks Memorial Library is a talk by Civil War scholar John Stauffer on “Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.”

The talk begins at 7 p.m. All First Wednesdays talks are free and open to the public.

Douglass and Lincoln - the first born a slave, the other into poverty - became one of the nation's greatest orators and one of its greatest presidents, respectively. Stauffer examines their friendship, the striking similarities in their lives, and their legacies.

Stauffer is a leading authority on antislavery, social protest movements, and interracial friendship. He is a Harvard University professor of English and American Literature and African American Studies, and chair of the History of American Civilization program at Harvard.

His eight books include “The Black Hearts of Men: Radical Abolitionists and the Transformation of Race” (2002) and “Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln” (2008), both of which won numerous awards.

He received his Ph.D. from Yale in 1999 and won the Ralph Henry Gabriel Prize for the best dissertation in American Studies. He began teaching at Harvard that year and was tenured in 2004. He teaches courses on protest literature, southern literature, Douglass and Melville, the Civil War, autobiography, the 19th-century novel and historical fiction, among other topics.

The lecture is a First Wednesdays program sponsored by the Vermont Humanities Council and supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Vermont Department of Libraries.

The Vermont Humanities Council's First Wednesdays series is held on the first Wednesday of every month from October through May, featuring speakers of national and regional renown.

Upcoming Brattleboro talks include “What's Western about Western American Art?” with Amherst College professor Carol Clark on April 3; and “Frost and Wordsworth: Romantic Poetry in the Light of Common Day” with Vermont Poet Laureate Sydney Lea on May 1.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates