The Columns

Lee Chapel Annual Spring Lecture to Feature Author David A. Johnson

— by on March 17th, 2015

Author David E. Johnson will give the Lee Chapel Annual Spring Lecture at Washington and Lee University on March 23 at 12:15 p.m. Doors will open at 11:45 a.m.

Johnson’s talk, “Freeman’s Lee,” will focus on Douglas Southall Freeman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of Robert E. Lee, U.S. Army officer, Confederate general and post-Civil War president of Washington and Lee.

Lee Chapel and Museum has been closed since Dec. 12 for renovations to the auditorium and museum sections of the building. Only the auditorium will open for the Annual Spring Lecture, and no facilities, including restrooms, will be available. The entire building is scheduled to reopen March 30, with guided tours and full access to museum exhibits.

Immediately following the lecture, there will be a book signing of Johnson’s two books, “Douglas Southall Freeman” (2002) and “John Randolph of Roanoke” (2012). Both will be available for purchase while supplies last.

Johnson earned his B.A. from the College of William and Mary and his J.D. from the University of Richmond School of Law. He worked in private practice before being appointed counsel to the attorney general of Virginia.

He spent 16 years in the attorney general’s office and also served as deputy attorney general for Health, Education and Social Services, general counsel to the College of William and Mary and university counsel at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Johnson began a second career writing historical articles on topics such as the 1840 Whig presidential campaign and the 1856 caning of U.S. Sen. Charles Sumner of Massachusetts by South Carolina Rep. Preston Brooks on the Senate floor.

The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography judged Johnson’s biography of Douglas Southall Freeman “a remarkable feat . . . a significant achievement, well worth the wait.” In its review of his second book, “John Randolph of Roanoke,” The University Bookman said, “As biographies go, this is surely one of the best in a long time.”