Public Program- Kevin Radaker and Edmund A. Schofield

Lectures and Performances
Tuesday, November 3, 2009 - 7:30pm

"Defending John Brown: Henry David Thoreau and Worcester's Reform Tradition"
by Kevin Radaker and Edmund A. Schofield

at Mechanics' Hall, Main Street, Worcester

Radaker as Thoreau
On November 3, 1859, Henry David Thoreau delivered his impassioned lecture "A Plea for Captain John Brown" in Mechanics Hall's Washburn Hall. To commemorate this event, nationally- known Thoreau re-enactor Kevin Radaker will portray Thoreau in a one-person dramatic presentation. Weaving together passages from Thoreau's writing with biographical and historical information, Radaker skillfully presents Thoreau's personality, intellect and wit, making the audience feel that they are in the presence of the actual man. This performance will stress Thoreau's political views and will contain selections from Thoreau's famous speech defending John Brown. The dramatic monologue will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Thoreau, then with Radaker. Additionally, Edmund Schofield will present a brief overview of Worcester in the nineteenth century and why this community was a center for anti-slavery and other reforms in the mid-nineteenth century.

Kevin Radaker is professor of English and Chair of the English Department at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana. Since 1991, he has presented his portrayal of Thoreau over 350 times throughout the United States at universities, colleges, libraries, state and national parks, and his "Thoreau" has been a part of summer Chautauqua tours in the Great Plains states, Missouri, Illinois, Massachusetts, the Carolinas, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Maryland, Ohio and Colorado. In addition, Professor Radaker has presented numerous papers on Thoreau at academic conferences, and he has published articles on Thoreau, Herman Melville, Annie Dillard, and Wendell Berry in encyclopedias and academic journals.

Edmund A. Schofield is an independent scholar who has spent over forty years studying and writing about Thoreau and Worcester's nineteenth-century history. A former president of the Thoreau Society, Dr. Schofield has organized several Thoreau symposia and edited Thoreau's World and Ours: A Natural Legacy.

John Brown and New England:
A series of public programs commemorating the 150th anniversary of John Brown's raid on the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry. John Brown and New England is a collaborative project of the American Antiquarian Society, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Thoreau Society, Worcester State College, and Mechanics Hall. This program is funded in part by the Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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