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James Madison’s Highland to host online event for Black History Month

James Monroe’s Highland has announced a free virtual program about John Sidebottom, one of two free Black men who helped move an 18-year-old Monroe to safety during the Battle of Trenton in the American Revolution.

The program will feature a virtual conversation with Sidebottom’s seventh-great-nephew Caleb Dempsey-Richardson, a professor at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Kentucky.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to share this unique story for Black History Month,” Highland Executive Director Sara Bon-Harper said in a statement. “Professor Dempsey-Richardon’s family history gives us fascinating insight into a largely unknown act of bravery during the American Revolution.”

The event is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15. Registration is free and can be accessed at

James Monroe’s Highland is adjacent to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello near Charlottesville and was the home of the fifth president for nearly 25 years. Acquired by the College of William & Mary in 1974, it now offers tours and hosts public and private events.


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