Ahh…the change of sweeter air. We have been feasting on a tremendous spread of glorious weather as the transition into the Autumn-time inches closer. The suffocating stranglehold of summer humidity has gracefully loosened into the effervescent tides of cool, rich air and soft nights. So gentle. It’s a marvelous time, indeed, friends: the crispness of a Fall morning, the musky spice flavors of cinnamon and clove, the thick carpets of vivid foliage – and, oh yeah, the political smear campaigns!
In a handful of weeks Americans will squash themselves into thousands of little curtained corners and do that civic duty thing. The President of the United States of America will crowned King of the World and lots of confetti will rain from the ceiling. Hallelujah! I’ll admit: election years are wickedly awful – in my opinion. Weeks of nitpicking, mud-slinging, name-calling and facebook arguments (these are the worst) all culminating in a single night of monumental melodrama as pundits engage the nation in a display of on-air posturing and nail-biting. Autumn gold, folks! But as we gear up for the real bulk of the battle, perhaps a little extra history lesson might add some much-needed moral fiber into the mix. Join author D. Laurence Rogers as he presents the political career of the nation’s first anti-slavery presidential candidate, James Gillespie Birney. Get the facts on the Kentucky native with Rogers’ new book Apostles of Equality: The Birneys, the Republicans and the Civil War presented Tuesday, September 25th, at The Filson Historical Society.
The virtually unknown story of James Gillespie Birney is perhaps unsurprising in its anonymity. Sharing an historical stage with the legends of Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis and Henry Clay has left little room for extra players to contribute to collective memory of human history. But the political career of Birney is one that bears notation as D. Laurence Rogers uncovers in Apostles of Equality. Recently published by Michigan State University Press, Rogers’ book addresses the revolutionary life of Birney as the true pioneer of the abolitionist movement that ultimately led to the formation of the Republican Party, the election of the Lincoln and the Civil War. Join Rogers at The Filson at noon for an account of the Danville native and a re-examination of history’s hot button political frontiers.
Got your bumper stickers ready? Don a sweater, grab a hot pumpkin latte and let’s trump this year’s wild presidential landscape with a nod to the past and maybe just a touch of tongue-in-cheek. A touch.
Image: Courtesy of Barnes & Noble website www.barnesandnoble.com