Judge Samuel Sewall, who sentenced innocent women and men to death during the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692, recanted his guilty verdicts five years later and begged for forgiveness. Richard Francis, the author of The Salem Witch Trials and the Forming of a Conscience, will discuss Sewall’s moral evolution during the kick-off lecture of the Old Town Hall Lectures Series in Salem, MA.
Richard Francis’s lecture and book signing takes place on Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. at Old Town Hall, 32 Derby Square, Salem, MA. Subscription tickets for the entire Old Town Hall Lecture Series and individual tickets may be purchased at www.oldtownhalllectures.com. VIP subscriptions are $175 for seven lectures, and include a reception with the speaker at 7:00 p.m. Regular subscriptions cost $105. Individual tickets are $20. Student tickets are $10. Tickets will also be available at the door, but space is limited.
“The Salem witch hunt has entered our vocabulary as the very essence of injustice,” explains David Goss, the director of Gordon College’s Institute for Public History. “Judge Sewall’s extraordinary act of apology was a turning point not only for Sewall but also for America’s nascent values and mores. This is a national story, and it impacted every town on the North Shore, not just Salem. We are honored to have Richard Francis journey from his home in England to kick off our lecture series with this important subject.”
Richard Francis has taught American Studies at Manchester (England) University and at the University of Missouri, and he has been Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. His published works include The Salem Witch Trials and the Forming of a Conscience Ann the Word (2005), The Story of Ann Lee, Female Messiah, Mother of the Shakers, The Woman Clothed with the Sun (2000/2002), Transcendental Utopias: Individual and Community at Brook Farm, Fruitlands and Walden (1997), and his forthcoming book, Fruitlands: The Alcott Family and Their Search for Utopia, is due out in November 2010. Francis also writes fiction and his latest novel, The Old Spring, was published earlier this year. He has studied at Cambridge University and spent two years as an American Council of Learned Societies’ Fellow at Harvard.
Clifford Hersey, Ed.D.
Dean of Global Education
The Institute for Public History
Global Education Office
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