Civil War talk this Friday in Chelmsford

This coming Friday, January 13, at 10 a.m., I’ll be giving a talk at the Chelmsford Public Library on the coming of the Civil War with a focus on key pre-war events in Greater Lowell. The event is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by LIRA (Learning in Retirement Association). Here’s what the library website says about the event:

Mr. Howe will take a long-term view of the coming of the war as it played out in Lowell and vicinity. Because the city’s economy was so dependent on cotton, there was a great deal of sympathy for the south and a hands-off attitude when it came to slavery. But simultaneously in Lowell, there was a very strong Abolitionist movement and the city served as a stop on the Underground Railroad. The presence of these two very different attitudes towards slavery within the same community created friction that manifested itself in a number of incidents. This “big picture” view allows an examination of the causes of the war through these incidents in a single community.

This is the first of several Civil War related programs at the Chelmsford Library. The next one occurs on April 3 and is on Researching Civil War Records followed by another program on April 11 and is called Torn in Two: Mapping the Civil War which is based on an excellent exhibit at the Boston Public Library.

All of this programming is a lead-in to the major One Book Chelmsford 2012 event in May which will feature not one, but two Pulitzer-prize winning authors (who happen to be married to each other), Geraldine Brooks and Tony Horwitz. Both authors will be coming to Chelmsford in May to talk about their newest titles, Geraldine’s “Caleb’s Crossing” and Tony’s “Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War.”