Day Nine:

Thursday, June 27
Lucy Colman Remembers Reform

Coffee will be available starting at 9:00 AM. Session will begin at 9:30 AM and end at 12:30 PM with a break. After lunch activities will begin at 2:00 PM.

Lucy Colman, a Rochester native, describes her years on the road as an abolitionist activist traveling through rough frontier towns in Michigan and Illinois in her fascinating and little-known Reminiscences (1891). Beginning with her childhood in Rochester and weaving in accounts of friendships with figures such as Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, Colman tells an inspirational story of how wit and quick thinking salvaged painful and dangerous encounters. Today's reading will include attention to the difficulty of untangling the threads of democratic yearning in both the women's rights and abolitionist campaigns, a difficulty that came to a head after the Civil War with the struggle over what priority to give suffrage and who had earned the right to vote. Because this memoir is only available online, we will also engage a pedagogical question about how to teach any material that is non-canonical. Even as the work is in dialogue with foundational stories about women's lives in the nineteenth century United States, virtually no critical attention has been paid to it. Our broader focus will include a discussion of pedagogical strategies used in teaching lesser known texts.


Lucy Colman, Reminiscences (1891)

We will also give attention to the website “Just Teach One” on

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Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this seminar do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

View of the Erie Canal by John William Hill (1829)