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The Pennington Lecture

The Pennington Lecture is offered in the spirit of the courageous Black community of 19th century Hartford for the promotion of our Black and multi-racial Hartford community today. Inspired by four young Black students, the lecture series seeks to inform, inspire, and ignite our passion to promote a just, racism-free society, one in which the human flourishing that is the heartbeat of the arts and humanities thrives and endures.

2024: Dr. Eddie Glaude, Jr.

3rd Annual Pennington Lecture
Thursday, February 8, 2024
Free admission. Register for seating or receive zoom link at

Distinguished University Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and New York Times bestselling author, Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., speaks on the topic of his forthcoming book, We Are the Leaders We Have Been Looking For (Harvard University Press, April 2024). In this new book, Glaude makes the case that the hard work of becoming a better person should be a critical feature of Black politics. Through virtuoso interpretations of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Ella Baker, Glaude shows how ordinary people have the capacity to be the heroes that our democracy so desperately requires, rather than outsourcing their needs to leaders who purportedly represent them. Glaude is also the author of the New York Times bestseller Begin Again, a politically astute, lyrical meditation on how ordinary Black Americans can shake off their reliance on a small group of professional politicians and pursue self-cultivation and grassroots movements to achieve a more just and perfect democracy. The Pennington Lecture is presented in honor of the Rev. Dr. James W. C. Pennington and is part of Capital Community College's Black Heritage Project. The project aims to surface the remarkable history of the first Black church and school for Black children in Hartford through an exhibition on Hartford's Black community formation (now on view at the college), curriculum in a variety of courses, and programs such as this. The Pennington Lecture is produced by CT State Capital in partnership with the Wadsworth Atheneum and The Amistad Center for Art & Culture, and in association with Faith Congregational Church.



Origin of the Black Heritage Project

Not just a church

Talcott Street Congregational church and School

James Pennington

Who was James Pennington?

Learn More >

Community Formation

A liberation of the body and mind

BHP Curriculum

Teaching the history of Black community in Hartford

2023: Dr. Jelani Cobb

2nd Annual Pennington Lecture
Thursday, February 9, 2023

  • 5pm Reception, Avery Court, Wadsworth Atheneum (light fare)

  • 6pm Lecture, Theater, Wadsworth Atheneum, also streaming online

With wit, style, and erudition Jelani Cobb is one of the clearest voices in current conversations about race. A staff writer for The New Yorker, he’s an expert on how race, politics, history and popular culture intersect in America, and is known for sharing his brilliant opinions on current events in real time—for example, Jelani is featured in the hit Netflix documentary 13th, which explores the origins of mass incarceration in America. Author of the highly-acclaimed book The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress, he also writes on more pressing and somber issues, like police brutality, voter access, racial discord, and partisan polarization. As the preeminent voice on these matters, Jelani eloquently explores how the past looms in our contemporary societal landscape and how we can collectively push towards a more equitable America. This lecture was sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Capital Community College Foundation and presented as a collaboration between Capital, The Amistad Center for Art & Culture, and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.


2022: Sarah Lewis, PhD

1st annual Pennington Lecture
Thursday, April 21, 2022

  • 5pm Reception, Avery Court, Wadsworth Atheneum (light fare)

  • 6pm Lecture, Theater, Wadsworth Atheneum, also streaming online

When it comes to justice, Sarah Lewis knows the power that artists, visionaries and iconic images have on our society. Having served on President Barack Obama’s Arts Policy Committee, and Guest-Editor of Aperture’s smash-hit “Vision & Justice” issue, Sarah zeroes in on the importance of photography, art and images as indicators of citizenship and catalysts of social change. In this empowering and timely talk, Sarah combines art history, race, American history, and technical innovation to paint a picture of cultural transformation and understanding. The road to true progressive change is often hard to communicate, but Sarah will show you the crucial nature of art for justice, and how progress can be seen through images.


Dr. Jeffrey Partridge, HHP Director

“This is our opportunity to learn about and acknowledge the courageous Black residents who stood up against oppression and violence in the streets just outside our college 200 years ago."
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