Teaching Peace to the Conquered: Jefferson and His Slaves
Tuesday, May 10, at noon, Charlottesville City Council Chambers
This lecture is free and open to the public.
Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Fellow Henry Wiencek will conclude this spring’s series of downtown C’ville lectures by VFH Fellows with a presentation titled Teaching Peace to the Conquered: Jefferson and His Slaves. Wiencek will discuss his research into the nature of slavery at Monticello—its management, finances, and psychology. According to Wiencek, as Jefferson devised systems to modernize, adapt, and refine slavery, the enslaved people became ever more skilled and more valuable; yet, Jefferson adroitly convinced them that they were inferior. Wiencek will examine Jefferson’s psychological program to “teach peace to the conquered,” in Bob Dylan’s phrase, and help create the atmosphere of paradox and contradiction that continues to obscure the harsh reality of slavery. For more information, please contact Ann White Spencer, aspencer@virginia or visit virginiafoundation.org.
Wiencek was the Patrick Henry Fellow at the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, at Washington College, and held a research fellowship at the International Center for Jefferson Studies. He is the author of An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America, and The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White. His books have won the National Book Critics’ Circle Award for Biography, The Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History, and the Best Book award from the Society for Historians of the Early Republic.