Calendar of Events

Lecture: The 1837 Case of Dorcas Allen

Title:Lecture: The 1837 Case of Dorcas Allen
Date & Time:Thu Apr 18, 2024 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
201 S. Washington St.
Event Details:In “The Brutal Truth Revealed: The 1837 Case of Dorcas Allen,” Dr. Alison Mann will discuss a traumatic event that occurred at 1315 Duke Street in 1837 and its legal implications and aftermath that was the basis of her 2010 doctoral dissertation. In August 1837, a Georgetown resident sold Dorcas Allen and her four children to James H. Birch, a District of Columbia slave trader. He transported them to the Duke Street pen, and that evening Allen killed her two youngest children and was restrained from harming the others. In October, she appeared before the District Court in Alexandria and pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Her case drew the attention of prominent white men, such as then-Congressman John Quincy Adams and District Attorney Francis Scott Key, but remains a story largely unknown. This is story of African American agency in the most desperate of circumstances…when an enslaved mother feels death is better for her children than life in bondage. Dr. Alison Mann serves as the Historian at the National Museum of American Diplomacy, U.S. Department of State as a subject matter expert in the field of diplomatic history, 19th century American history, public history, and education. Proceeds from this event support Freedom House Museum.

Please note: you do not need to print your ticket(s). Your name will be on a check-in list when you arrive at the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum.
Fees:$15 General Tickets; $12 Historic Alexandria Members and Volunteers
Audience:Anyone may attend
Tags:Black History, Lecture, Lyceum, Museums

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