The Marquis de Lafayette and his relatively unknown role as an abolitionist during and after the American Revolution is the focus of the important December exhibition A True Friend of the Cause Lafayette and the Antislavery Movement at the Grolier Club. Although the Marquis de Lafayette is popularly known as “America’s Favorite Fighting Frenchman” in the current Broadway musical Hamilton, his role as an ardent abolitionist has not received the same kind of attention as his contributions to the American Revolution.
The groundbreaking exhibition A True Friend of the Cause: Lafayette and the Antislavery Movement, on view at the Grolier Club from December 7, 2016 to February 4, 2017, is designed to offer a more comprehensive look at the man who was a “hero of two worlds”. While Lafayette’s contributions in the areas of politics, diplomacy, and the military have received renewed scholarly and public recognition, his abolitionist activities are not widely known, nor have they been adequately explored in any major exhibition or publication in the last twenty-five years. This exhibition brings into focus Lafayette’s sustained efforts in France, the United States, and South America on behalf of the abolition of slavery.