HUDSON – As a President, it is understood that the person elected will do the best job possible. For Ulysses Grant, “best” was an uphill battle. Elected after serving in the bloodiest war ever, the soldier had to follow in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln. He also had to bring together the warring factions. The term “reconstruction” perfectly described not only a physical rebuilding, but a psychological one, as well.
On Thursday, August 23rd, Elizabeth Diggs, author of GRANT & TWAIN, a new play scheduled to debut at PS21 in Chatham (www.ps21chatham.org) in late September, will be speaking on “The Enigma of Ulysses Grant” at the Hudson Area Library. It is part of their History Speakers Series and will begin at 6pm. The event is FREE. Detailed information is on the library website, http://www.HudsonAreaLibrary.org.
“Grant was determined to incorporate the 4 million freed slaves as full citizens of the country,” Diggs explained. “The Reconstruction strategy was ambitious, far-reaching and uncompromising. And for 2 decades he succeeded in overcoming the efforts of the white supremacy groups. But, what most Americans know about Grant is that he was a drunk and a failure as President.”
Recently, this opinion has been reversed through some brilliant new biographies and the opening of the Grant Presidential Library (in the Deep South – Starkville, Mississippi). Diggs’ play aims to further the correction of such overarching misconceptions as does her talk. “Grant’s achievements can hardly be overestimated,” she concluded. “But it has taken more than 150 years for his greatness to be appreciated.”
The lecture takes place on Thursday, August 23rd at 6pm at The Hudson Area Library, 51 North 5th Street, Hudson. The Library website is http://www.HudsonAreaLibrary.org. To learn more about the play, go to http://www.GrantTwain.com.
PHOTO CAPTION: General Ulysses Grant (the “S.” was only added to enhance Grant’s initials) served as President during Reconstruction, the most chaotic and difficult period of our nation’s history. Yet, this sea change in America’s social structure is not something he is known for.