Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Saving the Nation from Slavery: Clarina Howard Nichols and the Prelude to Civil War

Wednesday, March 30, 7 PM, Library Meeting Room

(Co-sponsored with the Brattleboro Historical Society)

Historian Marilyn Blackwell, author of Frontier Feminist: Clarina Howard Nichols and the Politics of Motherhood, will talk about this well-known social reformer from Brattleboro, her move to "Bleeding Kansas" in the 1850s, and how her campaign for women's rights converged with the movement to stop the spread of slavery in America.

The talk, co-hosted by the Brooks Memorial Library and Brattleboro Historical Society, will be presented on Wednesday, March 30, at 7 PM, in the Library's Meeting Room.

Clarina Howard Nichols was one of America's pioneering social reformers. From Vermont to Kansas to California, she forged a political role for women by using her stature as a lady and a mother to lobby vigorously for women's rights, antislavery, and temperance. After joining the antislavery migration to Kansas, Nichols championed freedom in the territory, assisted former slaves, and argued successfully for women's school suffrage before ending her career in California, where she continued to promote women's full enfranchisement. Despite her accomplishments and considerable respect from contemporaries such as Susan B. Anthony, she has been largely overlooked by historians.

Marilyn Blackwell remedies this oversight and examine Nichols's important role in women's rights, antislavery, and westward expansion. Blackwell is an independent scholar who has published widely on women's and Vermont history.