Kent: New lecture series to begin with author Ty Seidule

Ty Seidule

Ty Seidule

Contributed photo /

KENT — The Kent Memorial Library is launching the Edmund & Sylvia Morris Lecture Series, beginning with a free online conversation on Thursday, May 13, at 7 p.m. The first lecture will feature author Ty Seidule and Yale Professor Crystal Feimster discussing Seidule’s book “Robert E. Lee & Me, A Southerner’s Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause.”

A second lecture will take place on Sept. 9 featuring author and environmentalist Bill McKibben.

Sandra Edelman, co-president of the Kent Memorial Library Board, said, “The Library is thrilled to launch the inaugural presentation of the Edmund & Sylvia Morris Lecture Series. Edmund and Sylvia Morris were acclaimed biographers of such diverse figures as Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, Thomas Edison, Beethoven and Clare Boothe Luce. They were also great friends and supporters of the Kent Memorial Library, both presenting their own works as program speakers and helping to bring other luminaries to the community. With a generous donation from good friends of the Morrises, the Library is privileged to honor the memory of the Morrises’ contributions to the world of ideas and issues of historic importance through this new series.”

The first lecture of the series will combine both American history and current issues. As Confederate monuments come down in U.S. cities, America is once again grappling with its racist past, the library announcement said. For Seidule, a retired U.S. Army brigadier general and professor emeritus of history at West Point, this issue is personal. Brought up to revere Robert E. Lee, Seidule once believed that the Confederates were romantic underdogs who lost the Civil War with honor. In his book about Lee, Seidule describes how he confronted the racist legacy at the core of his identity and challenges the persistent myths of the Lost Cause.

Seidule, who taught history at West Point for two decades, is the Chamberlain Fellow at Hamilton College as well as a New America Fellow.

Feimster is an associate professor in the departments of African American studies and history and the programs of American studies and women, gender, and sexuality studies at Yale University.

This event is open to the public. To register for Zoom login information, go to the library’s website, kentmemoriallibrary.org. For more information, call the library at 860-927-3761.