Kendra Taira Field
Growing Up with the Country:
Family, Race, and Nation after the Civil War
This event includes a book signing
February 5, 2018
7:00 PM ET
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store, the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, and Mass Humanities welcome KENDRA TAIRA FIELD, assistant professor of history and director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at Tufts University, for a discussion of her book, Growing Up with the Country: Family, Race, and Nation after the Civil War.
About Growing Up with the Country
Following the lead of her own ancestors, Kendra Field’s epic family history chronicles the westward migration of freedom’s first generation in the fifty years after emancipation. Drawing on decades of archival research and family lore within and beyond the United States, Field traces their journey out of the South to Indian Territory, where they participated in the development of black and black Indian towns and settlements.
When statehood, oil speculation, and Jim Crow segregation imperiled their lives and livelihoods, these formerly enslaved men and women again chose emigration. Some migrants launched a powerful back-to-Africa movement, while others moved on to Canada and Mexico. Their lives and choices deepen and widen the roots of the Great Migration. Interweaving black, white, and Indian histories, Field’s beautifully wrought narrative explores how ideas about race and color powerfully shaped the pursuit of freedom.
“This is a wonderful, capacious narrative about a country that remains always a dodgy work in progress. Field's seamless interweaving of family, race, and nation—of the particular, the subordinate, and the superordinate—recaptures exceptionalist possibilities that will upend and enrich her readers’ understanding of the American past.” —David Levering Lewis, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography
“Personal and profoundly learned, Field, by unearthing the deeper roots of the Great Migration and back-to-Africa movement, explodes the simple structures of inherited histories while complicating understandings of race and nation in an America that never was, and never shall be, purely black and white.” —Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University
“The most fascinating and cutting-edge study to date on black settlers in Indian Territory and Oklahoma during the eras of Reconstruction and westward expansion.” —Tiya Miles, author of Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
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The Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University supports research on the history and culture of people of African descent the world over and provides a forum for collaboration and the ongoing exchange of ideas. Learn more at hutchinscenter.fas.harvard.edu.
Mass Humanities conducts and supports programs that use history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines to enhance and improve civic life in Massachusetts. Learn more at masshumanities.org.
As Harvard’s research center for North American history, the Warren Center’s mission is to advance research and teaching in the broad range of American historical inquiry, and to serve as a nexus for the community of Americanists at Harvard and in the Boston area. Learn more at https://warrencenter.fas.harvard.edu/.
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