On April 18, 2013, Elizabeth O'Leary delivered a Banner Lecture entitled "Winslow Homer's Virginia." When his paintings were exhibited in 1866, artist Winslow Homer gained critical acclaim for picturing "what he has seen and known." Afterward, this reputation for objectivity helped bolster the celebrated artist's long and prosperous career. Focusing on Homer's representations of Virginia during the Civil War and post-Reconstruction era, Elizabeth O'Leary examines the more subjective aspects—political, cultural, and personal—that informed his creation of some of the most enduring images of nineteenth-century America. An art historian who resides in Richmond, O'Leary is the former associate curator of American art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. (Introduction by Paul Levengood)
On May 16, 2013, Stephanie Deutsch delivered a Banner Lecture entitled "Booker T. Washington, Julius Rosenwald, and the Building of Schools for the Segregated South." Booker T. Washington, the founder of Tuskegee Institute, and Julius Rosenwald, the president of Sears, Roebuck, and Company, first met in 1911. By charting the lives of these two men both before and after the meeting, Stephanie Deutsch offers a fascinating glimpse into the partnership that would bring thousands of modern schoolhouses to African American communities in the rural South. By the time segregation ended, the "Rosenwald Schools" that sprang from this unlikely partnership were educating one third of the South's African American children. Deutsch, a writer and critic living in Washington, D.C., is the author of "You Need a Schoolhouse: Booker T. Washington, Julius Rosenwald, and the Building of Schools for the Segregated South." (Introduction by Paul Levengood)
On June 28, 2012, David Johnson delivered a Banner Lecture entitled John Randolph of Roanoke. One of the most eccentric and accomplished politicians in all of American history, John Randolph of Roanoke led a life marked by controversy. The long-serving Virginia congressman and architect of southern conservatism grabbed headlines with his prescient comments, public brawls, and clashes with every president from John Adams to Andrew Jackson. The first biography of Randolph in nearly a century, John Randolph of Roanoke provides a full account of the powerful Virginia planter's hardcharging life and his influence on the formation of conservative politics. John Randolph of Roanoke tells the story of a young nation and the unique philosophy of a southern lawmaker who defended America's agrarian tradition and reveled in his own controversy. David Johnson is deputy attorney general for the state of Virginia and the author of a biography of Douglas Southall Freeman. (Introduction by Paul Levengood and Andrew Cain).
On June 19, 2012, Edward Ayers delivered a Banner Lecture entitled The Civil War at a Crossroads: The Seven Days. In the spring of 1862, Virginia's civilians faced a different kind of war than they had the year before. Advancing Union armies now occupied large amounts of territory in western Virginia and in Tidewater, and their presence had a dramatic effect on local populations. Pro-Confederate white Virginians became refugees as they left their homes, and enslaved Virginians began to flee to the safety of Union lines. In this lecture, Edward L. Ayers analyzed the impact of the Civil War on Virginia's civilians up through the first half of 1862. He is president of the University of Richmond and the author of In the Presence of Mine Enemies: The Civil War in the Heart of America, 1859–1863. This lecture is cosponsored with the Richmond National Battlefield Park and The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar. (Introduction by Paul Levengood, Dave Ruth, and Cheryl Magazine)
On March 3, 2011, Daniel Crofts delivered a Banner Lecture entitled "The Diary of a Public Man and Abraham Lincoln." "The Diary of a Public Man," published anonymously in several installments in the North American Review in 1879, claimed to offer verbatim accounts of secret conversations with Abraham Lincoln, William H. Seward, and Stephen A. Douglas—among others—in the weeks just before the start of the Civil War. Despite repeated attempts to decipher the diary, historians never have been able to pinpoint its author or determine its authenticity. Part detective story, part biography, and part a detailed narrative of events in early 1861, A Secession Crisis Enigma presents a compelling answer to an enduring mystery. Dr. Crofts is a professor of history at The College of New Jersey.
(Introduction by Paul A. Levengood)