Press Release
Press Release · Saturday, December 11, 1999

Press Release
December 11, 1999
February Lectures and Performances at the National Archives Washington, DC . . . In February, the National Archives and Records Administration presents lectures and booksignings relating to Black History Month, Abraham Lincoln, and political history.

The programs are free and open to the public and will take place at the National Archives Building, Pennsylvania Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets, NW. The public may verify times and dates by calling the National Archives public events line at (202) 501-5000. TDD users may call (202) 501-5404.

Tuesday, February 9--Political History/Oral History
Claudia Dreifus will discuss the art of the political interview--war stories from the field. She has interviewed Benazir Bhutto, Toni Morrison, the Dali Lama, Barney Frank, and Barbra Streisand among others. Her book, Interview, is published by Seven Stories Press. The new paperback edition will include additional interviews--including those with Julian Bond, Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner, and Isabel Allende. Dan Rather said, "Claudia Dreifus is one of the world's great interviewers and a superb writer...Being interviewed by Claudia Dreifus is like playing tennis with Steffi Graf; you do your best and you learn a lot; anything less and she'll pave the court with you." Noon. Room 105.

Wednesday, February 10--Abraham Lincoln Series
"Therena Bates: Nicolay’s Letters from the White House"
John George Nicolay (1832-1901), President Abraham Lincoln’s private secretary, is a familiar figure to Civil War scholars. Unfortunately, the image we harbor of Nicolay was formed largely by association and from the writings of his admiring daughter, Helen Nicolay. Dr. John R. Sellers, a Civil War specialist at the Library of Congress, will discuss the essay, Therena Bates: Nicolay’s Letters from the White House, which looks at the famous secretary from a different perspective. Dr. Sellers is best known among Civil War enthusiasts for his award-winning resource guide: Civil War Manuscripts: A Guide to Collections in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress (GPO, 1986). Noon. Room 105.

Tuesday, February 16--Civil War/Biography Series
Timothy D. Johnson, author of Winfield Scott: The Quest for Military Glory, will discuss the fame and faults of General Winfield Scott. Scott, whom the author considers to be the most significant American general in the antebellum period, had character flaws that were almost as great as his contributions to the 19th century army. Published by University Press of Kansas. Noon. Room 105.

Wednesday, February 24--Black History Month
LET MY PEOPLE GO: The Trials of Bondage in Words of Master and Slave is an original theater piece based on petitions to southern county courts and state legislatures during the time of slavery. Collected and compiled by Loren Schweninger, Professor of History at UNC Greensboro, and adapted for the stage by artistic director Brenda P. Schleunes, the documents are taken from the Race, Slavery, and Petitions Project Archives housed at UNC Greensboro. The production features six of North Carolina’s most talented actors who give voice to these documents and perform the spirituals that call attention to the program’s themes. A brief discussion with Professor Schweninger will follow the performance. Approximately 90 minutes. Noon. Theater.

Thursday, February 25--Black History Month
"Improving America’s Image in Africa: Race Relations in the United States and American Cultural and Informational Programs in Ghana, 1957-66."
Beginning in the late 1950s race relations in the United States began to have an increasing effect on how foreigners viewed the nation. Accordingly, the United States Information Agency (USIA) developed programs designed to show that the position of African Americans was improving. Today’s lecturer, Kenneth W. Heger, will focus on Ghana, the first nation to receive independence in sub-Saharan Africa, as a model for these programs. Mr. Heger, an archivist with the National Archives, holds a Ph.D. in history and works with records documenting American foreign affairs. Noon. Room 105.

For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.


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