1. On March 15, 2012, David O. Stewart delivered a lecture entitled “American Emperor: Aaron Burr's Challenge to Jefferson's America.” A canny and charismatic politician who rose to become third vice president of the new United States, Aaron Burr seemed to throw it all away in 1805 and 1806 in an extraordinary attempt to lead a secession of the American West. "American Emperor" by acclaimed author David O. Stewart traces Burr from the threshold of the presidency in the contested election of 1800, through his duel with Alexander Hamilton, and then across the American West as he schemed with foreign ambassadors, the traitorous general-in-chief of the army, and future presidents, including Andrew Jackson. His immense ambition was matched by his undisguised contempt for Thomas Jefferson, a president he thought ineffective and unwise. The indecisive Jefferson finally had Burr arrested and charged with treason. Burr led his own legal defense in an historic treason trial in Richmond before Chief Justice John Marshall, winning an acquittal and freedom. Mr. Stewart is an attorney who practices law in Washington, D.C. (Introduction by Paul Levengood)

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  2. On March 16, 2012, Helen C. Rountree delivered a lecture entitled “Before It Was Virginia: Setting the Stage.” When English settlers arrived here 400 years ago, they encountered the first Virginians, the most famous of whom are the subjects of Helen C. Rountree's book, Pocahontas, Powhatan, and Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown. Today's presentation is the keynote address of "From the Earth: The Environment in Virginia's Past and Future," a free day-long conference on the historical relationship between Virginia's environment and its people. The conference is made possible by a generous grant from the Virginia Environmental Endowment. Dr. Rountree is professor emerita of anthropology at Old Dominion University. She now concentrates full time on writing and speaking about early Virginia Indians, as well as consulting with the Virginia Council on Indians and on tribal recognition. (Introduction by Gerald P. McCarthy)

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  3. On March 28, 2012, Jeremy Black delivered a lecture entitled “Fighting for America: The Struggle for Mastery in North America, 1519–1871.” In his latest book, prize-winning author Jeremy Black traces the competition for control of North America from the landing in 1519 of Spanish troops in what became Mexico to 1871 when, with the Treaty of Washington, Britain accepted American mastery in North America. The story Black tells is one of conflict, diplomacy, and geopolitics. The eventual result was the creation of a United States of America that stretched from Atlantic to Pacific and dominated the continent. The gradual withdrawal of France and Spain, the British accommodation to the expanding U.S. reality, the impact of the American Civil War, and the subjugation of native peoples are all carefully drawn out. Jeremy Black teaches history at Exeter University in the United Kingdom. This lecture is cosponsored with the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Virginia. (Introduction by Nicole McMullin)

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  4. On April 12, 2012, Jill Titus delivered a lecture entitled "Brown's Battleground in Prince Edward County, Virginia." When the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, Prince Edward County abolished its public school system rather than integrate. In her new book, "Brown's Battleground: Students, Segregationists, and the Struggle for Justice in Prince Edward County, Virginia," Jill Titus situates the crisis in Prince Edward County within the seismic changes brought by Brown and Virginia's decision to resist desegregation. She reveals the ways that ordinary people, black and white, battled, and continue to battle, over the role of public education in the United States. Dr. Titus is associate director of the C. V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. (Introduction by Paul Levengood)

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  5. On May 3, 2012, Terri Fisher delivered a lecture entitled "Lost Communities of Virginia." Virginia's back roads and rural areas are dotted with traces of once-thriving communities. General stores, train depots, schools, churches, banks, and post offices provide intriguing details of a way of life now gone. "Lost Communities of Virginia" documents thirty small communities from throughout the commonwealth that have lost their original industry, transportation mode, or way of life. Using contemporary photographs, maps, and excerpts of interviews with longtime residents of these communities, the book documents the present conditions, recalls past boom times, and explains the role of each community in regional settlement. Terri Fisher is outreach and programs coordinator at the Community Design Assistance Center at Virginia Tech and executive director of the Giles County Historical Society. (Introduction by Paul Levengood)

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