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Presented in partnership with the Reginald F. Lewis Museum.
Annette Gordon-Reed will be in conversation with Lawrence Jackson about her new book, On Juneteenth.
In ON JUNETEENTH, Gordon-Reed combines her own scholarship with a personal and intimate reflection of an overlooked holiday that has suddenly taken on new significance in a post-George Floyd world.
As Gordon-Reed writes, “It is staggering that there is no date commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.” Yet, Texas—the last state to free its slaves—has long acknowledged the moment on June 19, 1865, when US Major General Gordon Granger proclaimed from his headquarters in Galveston that slavery was no longer the law of the land. ON JUNETEENTH takes us beyond the stories of Gordon-Reed’s childhood, providing a Texan’s view of the long, non-traditional road to a national recognition of the holiday.
Gordon-Reed presents the saga of a frontier defined as much by the slave plantation owner as the mythic cowboy, rancher, or oilman. Reworking the “Alamo” narrative, she shows that enslaved Blacks—in addition to Native Americans, Anglos, and Tejanos—formed the state’s makeup from the 1500s, well before Africans arrived in Jamestown. That slave-and race-based economy not only defined this fractious era of Texas independence, but precipitated the Mexican-American War and the resulting Civil War.
A commemoration of Juneteenth and the fraught legacies of slavery that still persist, On Juneteenth is a stark reminder that the fight for equality is ongoing.
Annette Gordon-Reed is the Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard University. Author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, she lives in New York and Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Lawrence Jackson is the author of the award-winning books Chester B. Himes: A Biography and The Indignant Generation: A Narrative History of African American Writers and Critics. In 2002 he published Ralph Ellison: Emergence of Genius, 1913-1952 and he has written a memoir on race and family history called My Father’s Name: A Black Virginia Family after the Civil War. Professor Jackson earned a PhD in English and American literature at Stanford University, and he is a 2019 Guggenheim fellowship awardee. A Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of English and History at Johns Hopkins University, he founded the Billie Holiday Project for Liberation Arts to create opportunities for enhanced intellectual and artistic relations between Hopkins and Baltimore City, his hometown. He is completing a book about his return called Job’s Labyrinth, or, Shelter.
ASL interpretation will be available to attendees.
Order your copy of One Juneteenth from the Ivy Bookshop.
The Brown Lecture Series is supported by the Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown Foundation.
Wednesday, June 23 at 7:00pm to 8:00pmVirtual Event