On January 17, 2013, Cynthia A. Kierner delivered a Banner Lecture entitled “Martha Jefferson Randolph, Daughter of Monticello.” As the oldest and favorite daughter of Thomas Jefferson, Martha "Patsy" Jefferson Randolph was extremely well educated, traveled in the circles of presidents and aristocrats, and was known on two continents for her particular grace and sincerity. Yet, as mistress of a large household, she was not spared the tedium, frustration, and great sorrow that most women of her time faced. Though Patsy's name is familiar because of her famous father, Cynthia Kierner is the first historian to place Patsy at the center of her own story, taking readers into the largely ignored private spaces of the founding era. Kierner is professor of history and director of the Ph.D. program in history and art history at George Mason University. (Introduction by Paul Levengood and Nicole McMullin)
On January 31, 2013, Lawrence Jackson delivered a Banner Lecture entitled “My Father's Name: A Black Virginia Family after the Civil War.” Part history and part detective story, My Father's Name is a moving narrative full of the mixture of anguish and fulfillment that accompanies any search into the history of slavery. In this intimate study of a black Virginia family and neighborhood, Lawrence Jackson vividly reconstructs moments in the lives of his father's grandfather, Edward Jackson, and great-grandfather, Granville Hundley. In the process the author brings to life stories of the people of Pittsylvania County during and immediately after slavery. Lawrence Jackson teaches in the English department at Emory University. (Introduction by Paul Levengood)
On February 7, 2013, Henry Wiencek delivered a Banner Lecture entitled “Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves.” Is there anything new to say about Thomas Jefferson and slavery? The answer is a resounding yes. Master of the Mountain, Henry Wiencek's eloquent, persuasive book based on new information coming from archaeological work at Monticello and on previously overlooked or disregarded evidence in Jefferson's papers opens up a huge, poorly understood dimension of Jefferson's world. Wiencek's Jefferson is a man of business and public affairs who makes a success of his debt-ridden plantation thanks to what he calls the "silent profits" gained from his slaves and thanks to a moral universe that he and thousands of others readily inhabited. Henry Weincek, a nationally prominent historian and writer, lives in Charlottesville. (Introduction by Paul Levengood)
On March 7, 2013, Jeff Broadwater delivered a Banner Lecture entitled "Why Washington Burned and How the President Survived: James Madison and the War of 1812." In his recent biography of the fourth president, Broadwater focuses on James Madison's role in the battle for religious freedom in Virginia, his contributions to the adoption of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, his place in the evolution of the party system, his views on slavery, and his relationship with Dolley Madison. In this lecture, Broadwater will shed light on Madison's performance as a wartime commander in chief and reveal how the unlikely wartime leader survived repeated setbacks in the War of 1812 with his popularity intact. Jeff Broadwater is a professor of history at Barton College. (Introduction by Paul Levengood)
This lecture was cosponsored with the War of 1812 Commission and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Commission.
On December 6, 2012, Meredith Henne Baker delivered a Banner Lecture entitled “The 1811 Richmond Theater Fire.” On the day after Christmas in 1811, the state of Virginia lost its governor and almost one hundred citizens in a devastating nighttime fire that consumed a Richmond playhouse. The tragic Richmond Theater fire would inspire a national commemoration and become its generation's defining disaster. In The Richmond Theater Fire, the first book about the event and its aftermath, Meredith Henne Baker explores a forgotten catastrophe and its wide societal impact. The story of transformation comes alive through survivor accounts of slaves, actresses, ministers, and statesmen. Investigating private letters, diaries, and sermons, among other rare or unpublished documents, Baker views the event and its outcomes through the fascinating lenses of early nineteenth-century theater, architecture, and faith and reveals a rich and vital untold story from America's past. Meredith Henne Baker, an independent scholar, lives in Washington, D.C. (Introduction by Paul Levengood)