Wendell Phillips (1811-1884) was a national celebrity known for his public speaking during the Civil War. For most of his life he read, thought, spoke, and wrote a great deal about how to build public opinion in favor of social justice.
Occurring in the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, the 200th anniversary of his birth offers an opportunity to reflect on the Civil War, the ending of slavery, the legacy of abolitionists, and to ask questions about social justice that are still relevant today:
- What are the advantages, and perhaps pitfalls, of white people’s taking prominent roles in movements around issues affecting people of color?
- What happens to a movement as its goal nears fulfillment?
- Are forms of oppression related? And are they best fought one by one, or all at once?
Join community activists, public historians and interpreters, students and teachers, scholars and neighbors in a celebration, commemoration and reflection on June 2 – 4, 2011.
Activities during the bicentennial weekend include:
- Keynote address by James Brewer Stewart, Phillips biographer and founder of Historians Against Slavery, an organization fighting human trafficking
- Professional development workshop for teachers
- Exhibition of Phillips-related material at the Houghton Library (which holds the largest collection of Phillips’ papers, as well as material on his relationship with Harvard University), and a reception to celebrate its opening
- Symposium on Wendell Phillips’ Life and Legacy
- Walking tour (offered twice)
- Two discussions on interracial activism past and present – one at the end of the symposium, and another at Old South Meeting House (a historic building that Phillips helped preserve)