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May 1, 2015

Riders Up! Horse Racing in Williamsburg

By Bill Sullivan

George Washington lost four pounds playing the ponies as a 27-year old freshman legislator in Williamsburg in 1759.

He wasn’t alone. Horse racing and gambling were favorite pastimes in colonial Virginia.

Large crowds turned out from Virginia’s earliest years to find out who had the fastest horse—and to bet on the outcome.

The races attracted … Continue Reading »

February 13, 2015

Fighting for more than freedom

By Bill Sullivan

Who famously said, “As for me, give me liberty or give me death”?

WANT TO GO?

Secret Keepers: Literacy, Slavery, and the Law

Feb. 17 and Feb. 24
11:30 a.m.

Hennage Auditorium
at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg

Find more information here

Harvey Bakari, manager of African American Initiatives, answers his own question.

“It’s Patrick Henry. He’s a patriot. … Continue Reading »

December 25, 2014

Christmas ’76: Washington’s crossing in art

The most familiar image of George Washington, which has made it into everyone’s wallet, comes from Gilbert Stuart’s portrait. But though Stuart gave us Washington’s face, it was Emanuel Leutze who gave us his heroism.

Leutze’s painting Washington Crossing the Delaware portrays the night of Christmas 1776 when Washington led his beleaguered army through sleet and … Continue Reading »

November 6, 2014

Electronic Field Trip Premiere – “American Revolution on the Frontier”

As the Revolutionary War reached into the West to frontier communities in the Ohio River Valley, American Indians, French traders, British and American colonists, and African Americans faced life-changing decisions about whether to fight—and on which side.

The story, told through vignettes that portray a different segment of society struggling to survive in an increasingly tense, … Continue Reading »

September 5, 2014

Homeschooling Was the Rule in Colonial Virginia

Nearly 2 million children are homeschooled in the United States, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. And their numbers are increasing at a much faster rate than the population of public schools. Parents offer many reasons for educating young people at home, from concerns about safety or instructional quality to the desire to … Continue Reading »

April 24, 2014

When Religious Freedom Was Dangerous

By Bill Sullivan

“A commitment to religious freedom is one of the most important achievements of the founding era precisely because it could be dangerous,” said James Sidbury, Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Rice University, in a talk at the Dewitt Wallace Museum. But dangerous to whom? Sidbury was a featured speaker during … Continue Reading »