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The College of Arts Sciences

Performance Encounters: 'Black Childhood on Trial: The Tragedy of William Freeman' lecture and walking tour by Robin Bernstein (Harvard)

August 30, 2016

When: Thursday, September 8, 4:30 p.m.

Where: Room 124, Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts

A walking tour of Auburn, NY, will take place on Friday, September 9. Participants will meet at 2:00 p.m. at the Cayuga County Historian's Office, which is at 10 Court Street in Auburn (just off of Genesee Street).

"Black Childhood on Trial: The Tragedy of William Freeman" is a public lecture that tells the story of an African-American teenager who in 1840 was falsely accused of stealing a horse, convicted despite an absence of evidence, and sentenced to five years hard labor in the Auburn State Prison. During his incarceration, he was tortured and sustained a traumatic brain injury. In 1846, shortly after his release from prison, he committed a mass murder, after which he endured a spectacular trial and was ultimately forced into a starring role in a theatrical spectacle. Although no black children were involved in the murders, the trial and subsequent performances ultimately became a referendum on black childhood in the gradually emancipating North.

Lecturer Robin Bernstein is Professor and Chair of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality and Professor of African and African-American Studies at Harvard University, and also a faculty member in Harvard's doctoral program in American Studies and undergraduate program in Theater, Dance, and Media

This event is cosponsored by the Cornell University Lecturer Committee, and is free and open to the public.

William Freeman