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Old South Meeting House lecture series to explore Civil War impact on Boston

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  August 5, 2013 05:10 PM

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Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com
Old South Meeting House.

The operators of the Paul Revere House are partnering with the Old South Meeting House to present a free series of lectures exploring the effects of the Civil War on 19th-century New England.

Lectures in the series “A War of Divisions: The Impact and Aftermath of the American Civil War” will take place from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. on four consecutive Wednesday evenings in September.

The series is a presentation of the Paul Revere Memorial Association Lecture Series, presented by that association in cooperation with the Old South Meeting House, where all lectures will take place. It is made possible by a grant from the Lowell Institute.

On Sept. 4, the topic will be “Freedom Rising: The Emancipation Proclamation, the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, and Boston’s Black Community.” Beverly Morgan-Welch, executive director of the Museum of African American History in Boston and Nantucket, will discuss the influence of Boston’s African-American community on the proclamation that freed Southern slaves and the formation in Massachusetts of the first African-American regiment in the Union Army.

On Sept. 11, the topic will be “A Grand Tour during the Civil War: The Wheatons Go to Europe.” Kathryn Tomasek, professor of history at Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., will discuss how the war disrupted business, focusing on an April 1862 business trip to Europe by members of the Wheaton family.

On Sept. 18, the topic will be “The Caning: The Assault that Drove America to Civil War.” Historian and writer Stephen Puleo will discuss his new book of the same title, which explores the effects of the 1856 beating that pro-slavery South Carolina Congressman Preston S. Brooks gave anti-slavery Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner in the US Senate Chamber. Puleo’s earlier books include “Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919” and “A City So Grand: The Rise of an American Metropolis, Boston 1850-1900.”

On Sept. 25, the topic will be “Revolutionary Memory, Civil War Sacrifice: Pauline Revere Thayer and Preserving the Revere Legacy.” Nina Zannieri, executive director of the Paul Revere House will discuss the patriotic legacy of the Revolutionary hero, including his two grandsons killed in the Civil War and efforts by his granddaughter, Pauline Revere Thayor, to preserve the family’s story.

All lectures will take place at the Old South Meeting House, at the corner of Washington and Milk streets in Downtown Crossing.

For more information on the lecture series, contact Patrick Leehey, research director at the Paul Revere House, at 617-523-2338. For more information about the Paul Revere House, visit www.paulreverehouse.org. For more information about the Old South Meeting House, visit www.osmh.org.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @jeremycfox.
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