EventsDorothy Wickenden — The Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women’s Rights

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Dorothy Wickenden — The Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women’s Rights

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM


The fascinating and crucial stories of abolition, the Underground Railroad, the early women’s rights movement, and the Civil War – told from the perspective of three remarkable and impactful women.

Join us, American Ancestors/NEHGS, and the State Library of Massachusetts for an online talk about the story of the “agitators,” three friends and neighbors in Auburn, New York, at the forefront of cultural change during the Civil War years. Harriet Tubman was one of the most important conductors on the underground railroad. Martha Wright, Quaker mother of seven, and Frances Seward, wife of Governor, then Senator, then Secretary of State William H. Seward, were fellow agitators, hiding enslaved men, women, and children rescued by Tubman in their basement kitchens. Through these women’s richly detailed and intimate letters, Dorothy Wickenden brings to life their remarkable work, including their personal and political intersections with Lincoln, Seward, Daniel Webster, Frederick Douglass, Charles Sumner, John Brown, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and William Lloyd Garrison. Don’t missing hearing about The Agitators and this extraordinary period of American history.

To order this book from one of our local independent community bookstore partners, Trident Booksellers & Cafe, please visit this link to their website. Use the code BPLSHIP for free media mail delivery!

Photo by Jayme Grodi

Dorothy Wickenden is executive editor of The New Yorker, where she is also a writer and moderator of its weekly podcast The Political Scene. A former Nieman Fellow at Harvard, she was previously national affairs editor at Newsweek and executive editor at The New Republic. She is the author of Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West.

S.C. Gwynne is the author of Hymns of the Republic and the New York Times bestsellers Rebel Yell and Empire of the Summer Moon, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. As a journalist, he has worked at Time as bureau chief, national correspondent, and senior editor; and at Texas Monthly as executive editor.

The Repairing America Initiative is the Boston Public Library's pledge to focus its 2021 programming and services on bridging the gaps that divide America. By prioritizing economic recovery, civic engagement, COVID-19 recovery, racial equity, workforce development, and youth engagement, the BPL is working to help Americans rise above the challenges they face.

Programming like this is enabled through the generosity of a variety of public and private funding. To learn more and support our programming, visit the Boston Public Library Fund website.

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