On August 24, 2017, Jon Kukla delivered a Banner Lecture entitled “Patrick Henry: Champion of Liberty.”
Patrick Henry is remembered today mostly for one line from one speech that he made: “Give me liberty or give me death.” This is a shame because he was one of the leading patriots of the Revolutionary era, Virginia’s first governor after independence, a powerful voice in the early republic, and a great orator and statesman who played such a crucial role in shaping the course of Revolutionary Virginia’s history. In Patrick Henry: Champion of Liberty, Jon Kukla, who has been studying Henry for years and has even lived on one of his former plantations, restores Patrick Henry to the front rank of American Revolutionary patriots.
Jon Kukla has served as director of historical research and publishing at the Library of Virginia, curator and then director of the Historic New Orleans Collection, and as director of Red Hill, The Patrick Henry National Memorial in Charlotte County. He is the author of A Wilderness So Immense: The Louisiana Purchase and the Destiny of America, Mr. Jefferson’s Women, and Patrick Henry: Champion of Liberty.