Patrick Henry Fellows to Lecture on American History

CHESTERTOWN —Two stars in the world of American history, Holly Brewer and Neal Gabler, are coming to Chestertown as this year’s Patrick Henry Writing Fellows at the C. V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College.

Brewer will be in full-time residence at the Starr Center throughout the fall semester, working on a book that promises to dramatically reshape our understanding of how slavery took root in America. A prize-winning author and the Burke Chair of American History at the University of Maryland, she has done remarkable research challenging the traditional idea that slavery began here as a product of economic necessity.

On Sept. 13, she will deliver a public lecture on her findings: “Inheritable Blood: Slavery, Monarchy, and Power in Colonial America.” Co-sponsored by the Rose O’Neill Literary House, the lecture will begin at 5 p.m. in Hynson Lounge at Hodson Commons, followed by a book signing.

Brewer’s book-in-progress, Inheritable Blood: Slavery and Sovereignty in Early Virginia and the British Atlantic, will also trace forgotten debates that deeply influenced the development of slavery in the colonies.

Neal Gabler will be in residence during the spring semester, working on Against the Wind: Edward Kennedy and the Tortuous Course of American Liberalism, the first major biography of the late senator, which will be published by the Crown/Harmony division of Random House. An acclaimed biographer, Gabler is a prolific bestselling author who is currently visiting assistant professor in the MFA program at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Launched by the Starr Center in 2008, the Patrick Henry Fellowship aims to encourage reflection on the links between American history and contemporary culture, and to foster the literary art of historical writing. It is co-sponsored by the Rose O’Neill Literary House, Washington College’s center for literature and the literary arts.

The Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship’s funding is permanently endowed as part of a $2.5 million challenge grant package that the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded through its nationwide “We the People” initiative for strengthening the teaching, study and understanding of American history and culture.

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