SCHS Winter programming theme: Women and Race
There is a theme in the programming and events this cold winter of 2014; women and race in America. Part of the theme is the book, Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker: A Novel, which deals with women and race in the era of the American Civil War. Part of the appeal of the book is that the issues of women and race are as relevant to all of us today, whether we are black or white, male or female.
The book is largely about President and Mary Todd Lincoln and Mrs. Lincols’s dressmaker, the former slave, Elizabeth Keckley. Also appearing in the book a number of times is General US Grant. And then of course in history itself, US Grant emerges in a new role as president of the United States a few years after the Civil War when he was very much dealing with the issues left over from the Civil War, the Reconstruction and race. The reading of the book, Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker directly relates to the two presentations that SCHS is sponsoring this winter at Friendship Village Sunset Hills, as part of the “SCHS at Friendship Village” program.
The two talks will be given by Pam Sanfilippio, head historian at the US Grant National Historic Site, White Haven. The talks will be on February 6 and March 6. Descriptions of the two talks are below, and are also found on the page, Events – 2014.
Two talks and a book
SCHS at Friendship Village
Thursday, February 6, 2:30 pm.
Pam Sanfilippo speaks; “Sunlight and Shadow: Women’s Spaces at White Haven”
Ms. Sanfilippo’s talk examines relationships between enslaved women and their mistresses through the lens of the women of White Haven: women of privilege like Julia Dent Grant and her mother Ellen Wrenshall Dent, and enslaved women like Mary Robinson, Eadie, Phyllis, Kitty and others. This talk highlights the inequalities that existed in close proximity, and how the things these women left behind allow us to tell their stories today. Using excerpts from Julia’s memoirs and other writings, archaeological evidence uncovered at White Haven, an interview with Mary Robinson and more, this presentation places these women in the context of their times and explores women’s changing roles in the 19th century. Pam Sanfilippo is the lead historian at the Grant National Historic Site.
See video Grant and slavery by the National Park Service.
Book reading and discussion – Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker: A Novel by Jennifer Chiaverini
Wednesday, February 19, 7:00 pm
Lindbergh High School in Anne Morrow Lindbergh Room
The book is Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker: A Novel by Jennifer Chiaverini. There are copies available in the St. Louis County Library system. For more information about this program, call Stephen Hanpeter at 3114-918-1617. Event free and open to the public, just read the book and come share your thoughts.
SCHS at Friendship Village
Thursday, March 6, 2:30 pm
“Ulysses and Julia: The White House Years” by Pam Sanfilippo
Did you know that the eight years the Grant family spent in the White House were the most they ever lived in one place? In this PowerPoint presentation, Pam Sanfilippo will share stories and pictures of Ulysses and Julia Grant’s White House years, from both a family perspective and their experiences as President and First Lady. Both Ulysses and Julia recognized and used their roles in the nation to reunite the country after civil war and political infighting and ensure civil rights for the newly freed African Americans. Through it all, they continued to call St. Louis home.
Pam Sanfilippo, head historian at Ulysses S Grant National Historic Site Speaks Thursday, March 6, at Friendship Village Sunset Hills on “Ulysses and Julia: The White House Years”
Photo from Sunset Hills-Crestwood Patch
Read the book, Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker: A Novel to get the full effect of this series on women and race or pick and choose one of the talks or the other. Any way you go about it, you will be looking at the issues of women and race so relevant and important to us today. Or if themes and heavy issues are too much for you to handle, think of the book and the presentations as being full of good stories full of human interest, because that is what they are and that is much of the appeal. Enjoy!
Any way you do it, pull on your boots, bundle up and come out to see us at Friendship Village Sunset Hills for the talks on February 6 and March 6 and Lindbergh High School for the discussion on February 17.
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