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MANCHESTER — Middlebury College professor Will Nash will share how the story of the Underground Railroad has influenced contemporary artists in a talk at First Congregational Church in Manchester at 7 p.m. on Dec. 4. His talk, "Reading the Rails: Artists Imagine the Underground Railroad," is part of the Vermont Humanities Council's First Wednesdays lecture series and is free and open to the public. Talks in Manchester are hosted by Manchester Community Library.

Although historians have illuminated much of the mystery of the Underground Railroad, Nash will explore how contemporary artists and commentators use romanticized versions of the story to map new "Underground Railroads" and reflect cultural moments.

Nash is professor of American studies and English at Middlebury. He is the author of "Charles Johnson's Fiction" and co-editor of "Charles Johnson: The Novelist as Philosopher." The recipient of three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, he is currently working on a study of the function of scrapbooks in the struggle to abolish American chattel slavery.

The statewide underwriter for the First Wednesdays 2019-2020 series is the Institute of Museum & Library Services through the Vermont Department of Libraries. "Reading the Rails" is underwritten by Middlebury College and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Manchester Community Library is sponsored by Mystic Caf and Wine Bar, Spring & Harbor Boutique, and Union Underground.

For more information, contact Manchester Community Library at 802-362-2607 or the Vermont Humanities Council at 802-262-2626 or, or visit


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