While Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony are Rochester's most well-known social reformers, the region's history as a hotbed for abolitionists, suffragists, and justice-seekers means there are countless stories of people who lived a life worth learning about. Julia Wilbur led a courageous life. Born in 1815, Wilbur was a part of a Quaker family that settled in Rush in the mid-1820's, and lived a stable, albeit sad, life as a teacher and as an active abolitionist. Then in 1862, at the age of 47, Wilbur answered a dramatic charge to leave home and go to Union-held Alexandria, Virginia, to help recently escaped slaves and hospitalized soldiers. The move reshaped her life.
Paula Tarnapol Whitacre has written a biography of Wilbur, "A Civil Life in an Uncivil Time," and will be in Rochester for a lecture about the abolitionist's time in Alexandria, her work improving conditions for newly-freed African-Americans, and how she created a new life for herself. The lecture takes place Monday, April 23, at Central Library, 115 South Avenue. 7 p.m. Free. libraryweb.org; paulawhitacre.com.