The Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region's 14th Annual Public History Conference is taking place this weekend - April 17-19.

This year's conference is entitled "Breaking Free: Civil War, Emancipation, and Beyond" and will feature among its events, a Saturday Morning Keynote - "Underground Railroad to the Fight Against Neoliberal Racism: The Long Struggle for Black Liberation" presented by Henry Louis Taylor, PhD, a Professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at University at Buffalo and the Founding Director of the Center for Urban Studies.

Dr. Henry Louis Taylor, Jr.'s research focuses on a historical and contemporary analysis of distressed urban neighborhoods, social isolation and race and class issues among people of color, especially African Americans and Latinos.

While Eleanor revolutionized the role of First Lady with her outspoken passion for human rights, Alice made the most of her insider connections to influence politics—including doing as much to defeat the League of Nations as anyone in elective office. Hissing Cousins: The Untold Story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth is a double biography of the first cousins whose political perspectives could not be more dissimilar.

Authors Mike Peyser and Timothy Dwyer will be at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, April 11th at 7:00 PM for a presentation, Q&A and book signing.

  It’s time now for our weekly feature – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities.

Today we’ll discuss active use and re-use of historical sites – specifically Great Camp Sagamore in the Adirondack Mountains. Joining us is Garet Livermore, executive director of Great Camp Sagamore, which simultaneously celebrates its historical heritage while remaining in active use. Balancing these two presents a unique challenge in the maintenance and conceptualizing of a historical site.


  Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte was renowned as the most beautiful woman of nineteenth-century Baltimore. Her marriage in 1803 to Jérôme Bonaparte, the youngest brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, became inextricably bound to the diplomatic and political histories of the United States, France, and England.

In Wondrous Beauty, Carol Berkin tells the story of this audacious, outsized life.

    On June 14, 1940, German tanks entered a silent and nearly deserted Paris. Eight days later, France accepted a humiliating defeat and foreign occupation. Subsequently, an eerie sense of normalcy settled over the City of Light. Many Parisians keenly adapted themselves to the situation-even allied themselves with their Nazi overlords. At the same time, amidst this darkening gloom of German ruthlessness, shortages, and curfews, a resistance arose. Parisians of all stripes-Jews, immigrants, adolescents, communists, rightists, cultural icons such as Colette, de Beauvoir, Camus and Sartre, as well as police officers, teachers, students, and store owners-rallied around a little known French military officer, Charles de Gaulle.

Ronald C. Rosbottom writes about this time in his new book, When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944.

  Cesar Chavez founded a labor union, launched a movement, and inspired a generation. He rose from migrant worker to national icon, becoming one of the great charismatic leaders of the 20th century. Two decades after his death, Chavez remains the most significant Latino leader in US history. Yet his life story has been told only in hagiography--until now.

In the first comprehensive biography of Chavez, Miriam Pawel offers a searching yet empathetic portrayal.

For more than 2,000 years, the death of Julius Caesar has fascinated us. Most of us only know only what we learned from the high school staple, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: a story of amateur politicians who banded together, however clumsily, to assassinate a tyrant. Since then, countless movies and series have referenced the historical event, but what actually happened on March 15, 44 B.C. is more gripping than any fictional account.

In the new book The Death of Caesar: The Story of History’s Most Famous Assassination, Barry Strauss presents a historic account of the real death of Julius Caesar, and an examination of the key players' motives. 

  There is a major new exhibit - Alcohol in Vermont: Creation to Consumption, Tolerance to Temperance – which is on view at the Bennington Museum, in Bennington, VT from now through June 21st. The exhibition and related events examine the significant role of alcohol in Vermont’s history.

  Austerlitz, Borodino, Waterloo: his battles are among the greatest in history, but Napoleon Bonaparte was far more than a military genius and astute leader of men. Like George Washington and his own hero Julius Caesar, he was one of the greatest soldier-statesmen of all times.

Andrew Roberts’ Napoleon: A Life is the first one-volume biography to take advantage of the recent publication of Napoleon’s thirty-three thousand letters, which radically transform our understanding of his character and motivation.

  The play, Life in a Jar tells the story of Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic social worker, who assisted in hiding over 2,000 Jewish children who had been living in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II.

While the play dramatizes Jewish life in the Warsaw Ghetto during the war; it relays, as importantly, the heroic story of the 'righteous gentiles' who put their lives and that of their families at grave risk to save others by forging documents and hiding and placing Jewish children in convents and Polish homes

The impact of the Irena Sendler Project are many, including the book - Life in a Jar by Jack Mayer who will be attending two performances at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs and will take part in the Q and A following the play.