The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society

Julian E. Zelizer
Sam Tanenhaus (moderator)
Tue, March 10th, 2015 | 6:30 pm


Between 1963 and 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson passed an extensive list of monumental legislation, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. As a result, Johnson greatly influenced the political and social landscape of today. Celebrated political historian Julian E. Zelizer illuminates how Johnson—with the help of Congress—swiftly built “The Great Society” and the bitter resistance his legislation faced.

Shen Wei: An Evening of Conversation and Performance

Shen Wei, in conversation with Suzanne Carbonneau; performances by Shen Wei Dance Arts
Tue, March 3rd, 2015 | 7:00 pm


In the inaugural event of Shen Wei Dance Arts’ 15th Season, Shen Wei discusses his innovative choreography and artistic process with dance critic and historian Suzanne Carbonneau, recounting his journey from Hunan to performing at the world's leading venues, opera, and ballet companies. Live performances include selections from Folding, which won an NEA American Masterpiece Award, and excerpts from the new Untitled 12-1, which premiered at Art Basel/Miami Beach in December 2014.

From Beijing to the Met: A Singing Journey of Hao Jiang Tian

Hao Jiang Tian with iSING! International Young Artists
Sat, March 21st, 2015 | 7:00 pm


In this retrospective performance and lecture, Hao Jiang Tian will sing and talk about his life as a first generation Chinese-American opera singer, from his exhilarating arrival in 1983 at John F. Kennedy Airport from Beijing, through a two-decade career at the Metropolitan Opera that represented the fulfillment of a dream. There will be ensembles with Tian and young singers from his iSING! Festival.

An Evening with Cornel West

Cornel West
Wed, March 18th, 2015 | 6:30 pm


In conjunction with the exhibition Freedom Journey 1965: Photographs of the Selma to Montgomery March by Stephen Somerstein, celebrated activist Cornel West provides a vivid portrait of visionary 19th- and 20th-century African-American leaders—including Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ella Baker, and Malcolm X—and explores their lasting legacies in the age of Obama.

Jazz Age Manhattan

Barry Lewis
Tue, March 17th, 2015 | 6:30 pm


From the Chanin to the Chrysler Building to Rockefeller Center, join Barry Lewis for a vividly illustrated look at “Jazz Age” Manhattan and the German Expressionist origins of many of the city’s beloved icons.

Barry Lewis is an architectural historian who currently teaches at Cooper Union Forum.


The Robert H. Smith Auditorium at the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024

The White House: First Fathers

David Nasaw
Cokie Roberts
Gil Troy
Lesley Stahl (moderator)
Wed, February 25th, 2015 | 6:30 pm


What kind of relationships did American presidents have with their fathers? How did these relationships influence them as world leaders—and as fathers themselves? Four experts explore the paternal bonds that have helped shape the course of history.

Le Conversazioni: An Evening with Jonathan Demme

Jonathan Demme
Antonio Monda (moderator)
Tue, February 24th, 2015 | 6:30 pm


Enriched with screen clips from his past films—including The Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia—Academy Award-winning filmmaker Jonathan Demme, in conversation with Antonio Monda, offers unique insight into the major influences on his career.

The American Revolution and the Fate of the British Empire

Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy
Sat, February 21st, 2015 | 9:30 am - 11:00 am


9–9:30 am: Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:30–11 am: Program

Great Battles of the Civil War: The Wilderness and Beyond

James M. McPherson
Craig L. Symonds
Harold Holzer (moderator)
Wed, February 18th, 2015 | 6:30 pm


The forests of Virginia literally erupted into flames during the 1864 battles for the Wilderness, as Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee engaged in a horrific combat in early May. Renowned historians of the era relive all the great military struggles of this period—including Sheridan’s Ride, The Crater, and Jubal Early’s Raid on Washington—a season of thrusts and parries, danger and daring.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965

Randall Kennedy
Wed, February 11th, 2015 | 6:30 pm


The Civil Rights Movement was a time of turbulence and transition, and those resistant to racial equality at times resorted to acts of violence—and even murder. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law a monumental piece of federal legislation to reinforce the voting rights guaranteed in the 14th and 15th amendments and combat the disenfranchisement of racial minorities. Commemorating its 50th anniversary, Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy examines the origins, designs, and consequences of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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