In a book that weaves historical detail with personal reportage, Howard W. French retells the story of medieval and emerging Africa, demonstrating how the economic ascendancy of Europe, the anchoring of democracy in America, and the fulfillment of so-called Enlightenment ideals all grew out of Europe’s dehumanizing engagement with the “darkest” continent. Born in Blackness retrieves the lives of major African historical figures whose legacies have been downplayed or erased, telling the story of gold, tobacco, sugar, and cotton — and the greatest “commodity” of all, the millions brought in chains to the New World, whose reclaimed histories help explain our present world.
Test your knowledge of “Gender Rights and Limitations” in our virtual trivia contest! Quiz closes Friday, October 29 at 10 AM.
In 1825, Martha Parker, a gifted, ambitious young woman from New England who aspired to become an educator and a foreign missionary, accepted a marriage proposal from schoolmaster Thomas Tenney. But several weeks later, she rejected Tenney in favor of rival suitor Elnathan Gridley, a clergyman headed for the mission field. Tenney’s male friends retaliated by sending an anonymous letter to the head of the foreign missions board impugning Parker’s character, and Tenney himself threatened to reveal more about their relationship, ruining her future prospects as a missionary. The scandal provoked a resistance within evangelical ranks over womanhood, manhood, and, surprisingly, homosexuality, that ultimately threatened to destroy the foreign missions enterprise.
The 2021 Joseph P. del Tufo Annual Lecture Dangerous Speech and Cowardly Suppression: Censorship, Class, and the Impact of Technology will be presented via Zoom by Eric Berkowitz. Berkowitz is a San Francisco-based author, human rights lawyer, and journalist. This year’s lecture is brought to you in partnership with the Delaware Libraries.
In his lecture, Berkowitz will discuss several recurring themes driving censorship throughout the ages, including the fragility of power, the use of censorship to remake the past, the impact of technology, and the suppression of speech to guard feelings—from those of American slaveholders to marginalized groups today. The talk will dive deeply into the use of censorship in the 19th century to cement class, race, and gender privileges, and to prevent the lower orders in Europe from receiving information that might lead them to rise up in revolt. The anecdotes range from the egregious to the absurd, and the resonance to contemporary controversies is direct.
About Eric Berkowitz
Eric Berkowitz is a San Francisco-based author, human rights lawyer, and journalist. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as outlets such as Salon and the Huffington Post.
Over the past decade, Eric has devoted his legal practice exclusively to human rights and the representation of the poor and refugees, particularly asylum seekers from Central America, Djibouti, Iran, and Mexico. Against all odds, he has never lost an asylum case.
Eric has now turned his attention to the history of censorship in the West, a project that resulted in Dangerous Ideas: A Brief History of Censorship from the Ancients to Fake News. The book brings all of Eric’s analytical and storytelling talents to bear, focusing on the travails of the people, famous and obscure, who played central roles in the formation of our right to express ourselves, and exposing the motivations of both the suppressors and the suppressed.
The Lewes Public Library Spoken Word Society and Shakespeare Festival presents a reading of Mary Shelley’s “Transformation” by Dr. James Keegan.
Shelley’s short story “Transformation” was first published in The Keepsake in 1831. Guido, the narrator, tells the story of his encounter with a strange, misshapen creature when he was a young man living in Genoa, Italy, around the turn of the fifteenth century. He makes a deal with the creature to exchange bodies, but the creature does not reappear at the appointed time to take his own body back. This macabre, sinister, and supernatural tale is a masterpiece of Gothic writing.
Seating is limited and registration is required.
In collaboration with the History Book Festival, join us for a talk with Tamara Payne, co-author of The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X, the Non-Fiction Closing event for the 2021 virtual History Book Festival. Peniel E. Joseph will be in conversation with Tamara Payne during the event.
This best-selling, award-winning biography by Les Payne and Tamara Payne is the culmination of nearly 30 years of exhaustive research and hundreds of hours of interviews conducted with then still-living immediate family and contemporaries of the legendary Black leader, Malcolm X. With access to such important figures as Malcolm’s siblings, classmates, former ministers of the Nation of Islam, collaborators, street buddies, and even the men falsely imprisoned for his murder, the book presents a deeply nuanced and unprecedented portrait of how “East Lansing Red” gave way to “Detroit Red” and ultimately begat the icon, “X.”
Test your knowledge of “Weird Delaware” in our virtual trivia contest! Quiz closes Friday, November 12 at 10 AM.