Join Gilder Lehrman Center Director of Education Tom Thurston in conversation with sculptor Dana King Charles Warner Jr., chairman of the Connecticut Freedom Trail, and Kai Perry, Lead Educator for Discovering Amistad’s Social Justice Academy, Community Organizer, and a PhD candidate at the University of Connecticut. Perry, Thurston, and Warner are members of New Haven’s Amistad Committee. King is a classical figurative sculptor, based in Oakland, California and dedicated to creating public monuments of Black Bodies in Bronze. In collaboration with the New Haven City Planning Department, the Amistad Committee is preparing to unveil King’s seven-foot bronze statue of William Lanson in New Haven’s Scantlebury Park. The dedication ceremony is scheduled for August 26, 2020.
William Lanson was a Black man, born sometime near the close of the American Revolution, who settled in New Haven at the dawn of the nineteenth century. A New Haven hero, Lanson helped build the city, literally and figuratively: he completed the extension of Long Wharf; constructed the harbor basin wall for the Farmington Canal; and established hotels and boarding houses in the city. Known in the Black community as King Lanson, he helped found the African Improvement Society and the African United Ecclesiastical Society (the predecessor of the Dixwell Avenue Congregational Church); petitioned for Black voting rights; served as one of Connecticut’s Black Governors; and provided employment and housing for Black people who settled in New Haven after freeing themselves from slavery. Join us for a long-overdue and well-deserved celebration of one of New Haven’s most important nineteenth century leaders.