Vermont Humanities

Must Free Speech Endure Hate Speech?

Springfield Town Library 43 Main St, Springfield, VT, United States

The First Amendment prevents Congress from passing any laws that abridge the freedom of speech. But what does that actually mean? In this presentation, professor Meg Mott considers the history of speech laws in the United States, how states and municipalities have tried to curb offensive speech, and how the Supreme Court has ruled on those efforts.

Wolf Peaches, Poisoned Peas, and Madame Pompadour’s Underwear: The Surprising History of Common Garden Vegetables

Springfield Town Library 43 Main St, Springfield, VT, United States

Common garden vegetables have long and fascinating histories. Science and history writer Rebecca Rupp will discuss the stories behind many of our favorites, among them the much-maligned tomato and potato, the (mostly) popular pumpkin, and Vermont’s dynamic duo of kale and Gilfeather turnip. Find out why a lot of us don’t like beets, how a 17th-century pirate named the bell pepper, how carrots won the Trojan War, and how George Washington was nearly assassinated with a plate of poisoned peas.

Murder in the Vermont Woods: A Story About Race, Class, and Gender in the 19th Century

Springfield Town Library 43 Main St, Springfield, VT, United States

Historian Jill Mudgett tells the story of an Indigenous man from southern New England who came to central Vermont during the late 19th century and was the victim of a murder. Recreating community connections in a rural Vermont hill town, this story is about poverty, racism, disability, and gendered violence against women, but is also an account of Indigenous movement and choice despite great obstacles.