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Lunch and Learn: Nancy Stearns Theiss

Please join us at the Carnegie Center for Art and History, Tuesday, February 21 from 12:00 – 1:00 PM for our next installment of our popular Lunch and Learn series. Nancy Stearns Theiss, Executive Director of the Oldham County Historical Society in LaGrange, KY will present on the life of famed abolitionist and escaped slave Henry Bibb and on slavery in general in Oldham County. The Carnegie Center is home to two permanent exhibits concerning slavery and Ms. Theiss’ presentation will add another layer to what is known about that institution in our area.
Henry Bibb was born in Shelby County, Kentucky in 1815 and during his short 39 year life made several bids for freedom first for him and later for his common-law slave wife and their daughter. After surviving a series of escapes and misadventures, Bibb ultimately succeeds (but without his family) and settles in Sandwich, Canada across the border from Detroit Michigan. In 1849 Bibb publishes his autobiography Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, an American Slave, Written by Himself. This book is one of the best first-hand accounts of slavery that has come down to us. Bibb later went on to start Voice of the Fugitive which was Canada’s first black newspaper which encouraged slaves to move to Canada. Bibbs’ fame during his lifetime came from organizing some of the first conventions to free and educate blacks.
Our speaker is Nancy Stearns Theiss who has been the Executive Director of the Oldham County Historical Society since 2004. The society is based on a campus in LaGrange that includes the Oldham County History Center and the J.C. Barnett Libraries and Archives which houses the area’s information about slavery and the Underground Railroad. The National Park Service has designated both the archive and a house (the Gatewood Plantation) in Trimble County where Bibb once lived as “vital links” related to the Underground Railroad. The Oldham County History Center just completed a $2 million dollar renovation to update the campus. Ms. Theiss has published widely and pens a weekly column on Oldham County history for the Courier-Journal which is distributed throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Lunch and Learn is a free program, but seating is limited and registration is requested and easy to do. Please contact Delesha Thomas by email, dthomas@carnegiecenter.org or by phone at 812-944-7336. Visitors can bring a lunch and the Carnegie Center will supply beverages. We hope to see some of you for Nancy Stearns Theiss’ presentation on Tuesday, February 21.
The Carnegie Center for Art and History, a department of the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library, is a contemporary art gallery and history museum that offers a full schedule of changing exhibitions and other educational programs. The Carnegie Center also features the permanent local history exhibits Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage: Men and Women of the Underground Railroad and Remembered: The Life of Lucy Higgs Nichols.

For more information on exhibits, events, and tours, please visit www.carnegiecenter.org and www.facebook.com/nacarnegie.