Bill Barker: Presidents' Day Celebration — Man and Legacy

Bill Barker Image

Bill Barker as Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson — Man and Legacy

In times of great strife, Americans have often looked to our nation’s founding fathers for guidance. In doing so, we inevitably address the paradoxes they posed. The same Thomas Jefferson who penned the idea that “all men are created equal” in our Declaration of Independence, is the same founder who owned hundreds of slaves through the course of his life. How could this be, and what are the lessons to us today? To help us unpack these and other historically loaded questions, the Hauenstein Center, along with our partners at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and Library, welcomed Monticello’s William Barker back to Grand Rapids. Widely regarded as the nation’s foremost Thomas Jefferson interpreter, Barker joined us for a celebration of Presidents' Day and for a conversation that plumbed our difficult past.