04 November 2020

Fall 2020: Democracy in Crisis! Week 7


Timothy Patrick McCarthy is an award-winning historian, educator, and human rights activist who has taught on Harvard's faculty since 2005. Dr. McCarthy currently holds a joint appointment in the undergraduate honors program in History and Literature, Graduate School of Education, and Kennedy School of Government, where he is Core Faculty at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. He is also Stanley Paterson Professor of American History in the Boston Clemente Course, a free college course for lower income adults in Dorchester, where he has taught since its founding in 2001.

He is the author or editor of five books, including the forthcoming Stonewall's Children: Living Queer History in an Age of Liberation, Loss, and Love, and a frequent media commentator. Dr. McCarthy has devoted his life to public service and social justice. He currently serves as Board Chair for Free the Slaves, a leading global NGO in the fight against modern slavery, and also hosts and directs A.R.T. of Human Rights and Resistance Mic! through the Tony Award-winning American Repertory Theater, where he serves on the Board of Advisors.

Click here to play lecture (54 minutes).

Crystal Lucas-Perry plays John Adams in the 2020 revival of the musical 1776 by the American Repertory Theater.

As we embark on our journey together on this production, we find ourselves reckoning with our country’s history, reexamining the pivotal moment of our nation’s founding portrayed in 1776—the writing of the Declaration of Independence, a ‘promissory note,’ that, in Martin Luther King’s words ‘America has defaulted on.’ Our cast includes multiple representations of gender, race, and ethnicity that allow this revival of 1776 to more broadly reflect today’s America, our America.” 

– Diane Paulus, Director of 1776 / Terrie and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director

Is Anybody There? is the song that John Adams sings when he's referring to the rest of Congress not seeing his way on Independence after the South walked out on Adams' defending Jefferson's clause against slavery. These are the lyrics by Sherman Edwards from previous productions.

John Adams:

Is anybody there?

Does anybody care?

Does anybody see what I see?

They want to me to quit; they say

John, give up the fight

Still to England I say

Good night, forever, good night!

For I have crossed the Rubicon

Let the bridge be burned behind me

Come what may, come what may


The croakers all say we'll rue the day

There'll be hell to pay in fiery purgatory

Through all the gloom, through all the gloom

I see the rays of ravishing light and glory!

Is anybody there? Does anybody care?

Does anybody see what I see?

I see fireworks! I see the pageant and

Pomp and parade

I hear the bells ringing out

I hear the cannons roar

I see Americans - all Americans

Free forever more

How quiet, how quiet the chamber is

How silent, how silent the chamber is

Is anybody there? Does anybody care?

Does anybody see what I see?

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