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On Tuesday, February 26, former Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice Frank Williams will present “Ulysses S. Grant, Reconstruction, and Civil Rights” at the Old Capitol Museum.

“For many Americans, Reconstruction is remembered as a period of racial anarchy, political failure, and the ‘humiliation’ of the defeated South,” said Williams. “Reconstruction should not be seen as bad policy doomed by corruption and incompetence but as a profoundly forward-looking program that was subverted by violence and an inept administration.”

Williams is the longtime president of the Ulysses S. Grant Association and was instrumental in the creation of the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library at Mississippi State University. In 2017, Williams and his wife Virginia donated to the library their collection of documents, books, artifacts, paintings, statuary, and ephemera related to the life of Abraham Lincoln.

“Grant was running a race against time—not only in regard to white Southerners who had been displaced from power , but also the flash flood of his cronies whom he had trusted,” said Williams. “Yet Grant did yeoman’s service to Lincoln’s dream in suggesting justice in an open society.”

A reception will begin at 5 p.m. and the lecture will start at 6 p.m. in the historic House of Representatives Chamber on the second floor. Free, for more information call 601-576-6998 or email

The program is organized in association with the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library at Mississippi State University and co-sponsored by the Mississippi Humanities Council.

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