"John Henry and Jefferson Davis: Black and White Citizenship in a World Changed by War"

The trial of former Confederate President Jefferson Davis was empanelled the same day - May 10, 1866 - as the trial of the legendary African- American railway worker, John Henry.  The fate of both men turned on the conflict between Congress and the President over the status of persons in the states being reconstructed. The fate of both Davis and Henry were shaped by Lincoln’s legacy, particularly his expansion of the wartime powers of the presidency. 

Scott Nelson, professor of history at the College of William and Mary is the presenter.


Presented as part of the programming associated with “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War,” a national traveling exhibition which focuses on Abraham Lincoln’s struggle to meet the constitutional challenges of the Civil War. 

The National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office organized the exhibit with the help of a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH): great ideas brought to life. The traveling exhibition is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center.

These free programs in connection with the exhibition are supported through a grant from Friends of Williamsburg Regional Library.


James City County
Room: Kitzinger Community Room