Gretchen Sorin: Driving While Black

TUE, AUG 11, 2020

Author Gretchen Sorin and Kinshasha Holman Conwill, Deputy Director of the The National Museum of African American History and Culture discuss Sorin’s new book and upcoming PBS documentary by Ric Burns, “Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights.”

Learn how the automobile fundamentally changed African American life. Through much of our country’s history, mobility has been limited for African Americans: first, by slavery; then, in the 20th Century, by the racism of some whites who denied their black countrymen the right to travel freely on trains and buses. Driving While Black reveals how the car—the ultimate symbol of independence and possibility—allowed black families to evade the many dangers presented by an entrenched racist society. Interweaving stories of her own family history, Gretchen Sorin opens up an entirely new view onto one of the most important issues of our time.

Gretchen Sorin is distinguished professor and director of the Cooperstown Graduate Program of the State University of New York.

This event is presentd by American Ancestors/NEHGS, Boston Public Library and the Museum of African American History as part of the American Stories, Inspiration Today author series.

+ BIO: Kinshasha Holman-Conwill

Kinshasha Holman Conwill serves as Deputy Director of the National Museum of African American History & Culture. Since 2005 to present, she has engaged in fulfilling the museum’s vision by expanding its collections, fostering external partnerships, developing exhibits and programming. She serves as lead editor for projects ranging from exhibition catalogs to books on the museum’s collections, including Dream A World Anew: The African American Experience and the Shaping of American, Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment (co-authored by Richard Carlin), Sweet Home Café’ Cookbook: A Celebration of African American Cooking, and We Return Fighting: World War I and the Shaping of Modern Black Identity. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, she served as the Director of The Studio Museum in Harlem

Image: Public Domain

+ BIO: Gretchen Sorin

Gretchen Sorin is distinguished professor and director of the Cooperstown Graduate Program of the State University of New York. She is also the author of “Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights.”

Image credit: Richard Walker

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American Stories, Inspiration Today