Each year since its founding the Ethan Allen Institute has presented a program to honor Thomas Jefferson’s legacy of liberty whose principles are reflected in the Institute’s mission.
“Thomas Jefferson and the Curse of Slavery” was the theme of the Institute’s 30thannual Jefferson Day Event. It was held at the Rutland Free Library on April 12. It featured a showing of the second half of Ken Burns’ acclaimed PBS documentary on Thomas Jefferson’s life with a focus on how, over the years, the Apostle of Liberty finally reached a troubled standoff with slavery in the early years of the new nation.
The program was presented by a man deeply involved in the production of this splendid documentary. Kevin Kertscher is a noted film editor who worked closely with Ken Burns and his script writers to give viewers a revealing and fair minded account of Jefferson’s life, his philosophy and his relationship with Sally Hemings, an enslaved woman on his Monticello plantation who was Jefferson’s deceased wife’s half-sister.
Following the showing of the film Mr. Kertscher described the challenges of putting together the film from the historical record, much of it still mired in controversy.
The program was co-sponsored with the Jefferson Legacy Foundation and Tom Cabot, Jack Welch, and Mark Candon. It was introduced by EAI President Myers Mermel. Gov. Jim Douglas was a special guest.