Kerri K. Greenidge with The Grimkes: The Legacy of Slavery in an American Family

MON, NOV 14, 2022

A landmark biography of the most important multiracial American family of the nineteenth century–a stunning counternarrative of the legendary abolitionist Grimke sisters that reclaims the forgotten Black members of their family.

Sarah and Angelina Grimke are revered figures in American history, famous for rejecting their privileged lives on a plantation in South Carolina to become firebrand activists in the North. Their antislavery pamphlets are still read today; yet retellings of their epic story have long obscured their Black relatives. In The Grimkes, award-winning historian Kerri Greenidge reclaims the lost side of this famous family. This grand saga spans the eighteenth century to the twentieth and stretches from Charleston to Philadelphia, Boston, and beyond, revealing the short-comings and injustices perpetuated by the white Grimkes and exposing the limits of progressive white racial politics. Just as the Hemingses and Jeffersons personified the racial myths of the founding generation, the Grimkes embodied the legacy of those myths.

Kerri K. Greenidge is a historian at Tufts University and the author of Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter, winner of the 2020 Mark Lynton History Prize, among other honors.

Moderator Kellie Carter Jackson is the Michael and Denise Kellen 68’ Associate Professor in the Department of Africana Studies at Wellesley College. She is the author of the award-winning book Force & Freedom: Black Abolitionists and Historian-in-Residence at Boston’s Museum of African American History.

+ BIO: Dr. Kerri Greenidge

Dr. Kerri Greenidge received her Doctorate in American Studies from Boston University, where her specialty included African-American history, American political history, and African-American and African diasporic literature in the post-emancipation and early modern era. Her research explores the role of African-American literature in the creation of radical Black political consciousness, particularly as it relates to local elections and Democratic populism during the Progressive Era. She has taught at Boston University, the University of Massachusetts, and Emerson College. Her work includes historical research for the Wiley-Blackwell Anthology of African-American Literature, the Oxford African American Studies Center, and PBS. For nine years she worked as a historian for Boston African American National Historical Site in Boston, through which she published her first book, Boston Abolitionists (2006). Her forthcoming book is a biography of African-American activist, William Monroe Trotter, which explores the history of racial thought and African American political radicalism in New England at the turn of the century. She teaches at Tufts University where she is currently co-director of the Tufts / African American Freedom Trail Project, and where she serves as Interim Director of the American Studies Program through the University’s Consortium of Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora. Her biography of Boston activist, William Monroe Trotter, will be released by W.W. Norton Press in Winter, 2018.

+ BIO: Dr. Kellie Carter Jackson

Kellie Carter Jackson is the Knafel Assistant Professor of the Humanities in the Department of Africana Studies at Wellesley College. She was also the 2019-2020 Newhouse Faculty Fellow for the Center of the Humanities at Wellesley College. Carter Jackson’s research focuses on slavery and the abolitionists, violence as a political discourse, historical film, and black women’s history. She earned her B.A at her beloved Howard University and her Ph.D from Columbia University working with the esteemed historian Eric Foner. Her book, Force & Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence (University of Pennsylvania Press), examines the conditions that led some black abolitionists to believe slavery might only be abolished by violent force. In Force and Freedom, Carter Jackson provides the first historical analysis exclusively focused on the tactical use of violence among antebellum black activists. Force and Freedom is a finalist for the Frederick Douglass Book Prize, winner of the James H. Broussard Best First Book Prize given by SHEAR (Society for Historians of the Early American Republic) and a finalist for the Museum of African American History (MAAH) Stone Book Prize Award for 2019. The Washington Post listed Force and Freedom as one of 13 books to read on the history of Black America for those who really want to learn.

American Ancestors