- Thursday, May 2nd, 7:00 pm: Lecture: Jefferson Morley, author of “Snow Storm in August: Washington City, Francis Scott Key, and the forgotten Race Riot of 1835”
In 1835, the city of Washington pulsed with change. As newly freed African Americans from the South poured in, free blacks outnumbered slaves for the first time. Radical notions of abolishing slavery circulated on the city’s streets, and white residents were forced to confront new ideas of what the nation’s future might look like.
On the night of August 4th, Arthur Bowen, an eighteen-year-old slave, stumbled into the bedroom where his owner, Anna Thornton, slept. He had an ax in the crook of his arm. An alarm was raised, and he ran away. Word of the incident spread rapidly, and within days, Washington’s first race riot exploded, as whites fearing a slave rebellion attacked the property of the free blacks. Residents dubbed the event the “Snow-Storm,” in reference to the central role of Beverly Snow, a flamboyant former slave turned successful restaurateur, who became the target of the mob’s rage.In the wake of the riot came two sensational criminal trials that gripped the city. Prosecuting both cases was none other than Francis Scott Key, a politically ambitious attorney famous for writing the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” who few now remember served as the city’s district attorney for eight years. Key defended slavery until the twilight’s last gleaming, and pandered to racial fears by seeking capital punishment for Arthur Bowen. But in a surprise twist his prosecution was thwarted by Arthur’s ostensible victim, Anna Thornton, a respected socialite who sought the help of President Andrew Jackson.
Ranging beyond the familiar confines of the White House and the Capitol, Snow-Storm in August delivers readers into an unknown chapter of American history with a textured and absorbing account of the racial secrets and contradictions that coursed beneath the freewheeling capital of a rising world power.
- Wednesday, May 8th, 7:00 pm: Lecture: Michael Tougias, author of “A Storm Too Soon: A True Story of Survival and a Remarkable Rescue”
In honor of Maritime History Month, the Society presents the true tale of an amazing 2007 Coast Guard rescue in the Atlantic, and how those rescued, as well as the rescuers themselves, battled the elements to simply not allow lives to perish. This is the tale of the one of the largest and most intense rescues in Coast Guard history.
- Wednesday, May 15th, 7:00 pm: Lecture: “Crime Time: How to Write about a Mystery!” with Sandra Lee, author of “The Shanty”, along with Michele McPhee, author of “A Mob Story” and Kyle Darcy, author of “Under Current Conditions”
Two popular female authors—one involving fiction, one in non-fiction—, as well as a novelist whose work is based on fact–come to Falmouth to team up to discuss their works and what goes into successfully writing about mysteries.
- Thursday, May 23rd, 7:00 pm: Lecture: Thomas Turner: “Abraham Lincoln in New England”
BridgewaterStateUniversity professor Thomas Turner comes to Falmouth to discuss Abraham Lincoln’s trips and experiences when coming to New England, and how it impacted him as well as the region.
- Thursday, May 30th, 7:00 pm: Lecture: Mark Schmidt, “The Man Who Never Was: World War II’s Boldest Counter-Intelligence Operation”
As plans got under way for the Allied invasion of Sicily in June 1943, British counter-intelligence agent Ewen Montagu masterminded a scheme to mislead the Germans into thinking the next landing would occur in Greece. The innovative plot was so successful that the Germans moved some of their forces away from Sicily, and two weeks into the real invasion still expected an attack in Greece. This extraordinary operation called for a dead body, dressed as a Royal Marine officer and carrying false information about a pending Allied invasion of Greece, to wash up on a Spanish shore near the town of a known Nazi agent. Failure could have had devastating results. Success, however, brought a decided change in the course of the war.