Headshot of Annette Gordon-ReedIn her latest book, On Juneteenth, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, Harvard professor, and award-winning author Annette Gordon-Reed sets out to capture the integral importance of the Juneteenth holiday to American history. On Feb. 29, she will be visiting the Lafayette campus to deliver this year’s John L. Hatfield ’67 Lecture and discuss the bestseller—which, as our nation now recognizes June 19 as a national holiday, is both an essential account and a stark reminder that the fight for equality is exigent and ongoing.  

Gordon-Reed’s lecture, which is open to the public and presented by Lafayette College Libraries, will be a meaningful and personal talk that breathes new life into the historical events that have led us to this moment—and illuminates a new path forward. 

“We are honored to host Prof. Gordon-Reed for this year’s Hatfield Lecture,” says Dean of Lafayette College Libraries Charlotte Nunes. “Gordon-Reed’s unique approach to history through the lens of personal memoir encourages us to reflect on our relationship with our history and our homes. It is exciting to be able to bring a speaker as acclaimed as Prof. Gordon-Reed to campus at such a pivotal and reflective time in our campus’s and our nation’s history.”

Gordon-Reed—who is the Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard Law School and a professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University—has authored six books and won 16 book prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2009 and the National Book Award in 2008 for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (W.W. Norton, 2008). In addition to articles and reviews, her other works include Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy (UVA Press, 1997), Vernon Can Read! A Memoir, a collaboration with Vernon Jordan (PublicAffairs, 2001), and more. 

Currently, Gordon-Reed is president of the Ames Foundation. A selected list of her honors includes a fellowship from the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, a Guggenheim Fellowship in the humanities, a MacArthur Fellowship, the National Humanities Medal, the National Book Award, the Frederick Douglass Book Prize, the George Washington Book Prize, and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. She was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011 and was a member of the Academy’s Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences. In 2019, she was elected as a member of the American Philosophical Society.

The Hatfield Lecture series is sponsored by Lafayette College Libraries and endowed by a generous gift from alumnus John L. Hatfield ’67. The series brings a prominent author to campus for a public lecture and to visit with students. The Hatfield Lecture occurs once a year in the spring, usually in February or early March, and has become an annual highlight for the College. The libraries are proud to provide a home for the series, which has celebrated great writing, since 2008.

The libraries also invite the Lafayette community to visit the Claiming Freedom art exhibit, which is on loan from the Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African American Art and is inspired by On Juneteenth. The exhibit will be on display on the first floor of Skillman Library throughout the spring semester.

Attend the lecture

  • The 2024 Hatfield Lecture by Annette Gordon-Reed will be free and open to the public. The talk will be delivered Feb. 29 at 7 p.m. in Room 103 of Hugel Science Center. A Q&A session will follow the lecture. Registration is not required. A recorded version of the lecture will be available with captions to members of the Lafayette community by request. The libraries strive to make their events as accessible as possible. If you have any accessibility questions, please email lat.group@lafayette.edu.
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