Book Talk: Sisters and Rebels: A Struggle for the Soul of America
with Jacquelyn Dowd Hall
Winner of the PEN / Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography and the Southern Historical Association Sydnor Award
Descendants of a prominent slaveholding family, Elizabeth, Grace, and Katharine Lumpkin grew up in a culture of white supremacy. But while Elizabeth remained a lifelong believer, her younger sisters chose vastly different lives. Seeking their fortunes in the North, Grace and Katharine reinvented themselves as radical thinkers whose literary works and organizing efforts brought the nation’s attention to issues of region, race, and labor.
In Sisters and Rebels, National Humanities Award–winning historian Jacquelyn Dowd Hall follows the divergent paths of the Lumpkin sisters, who were “estranged and yet forever entangled” by their mutual obsession with the South. Tracing the wounds and unsung victories of the past through to the contemporary moment, Hall revives a buried tradition of Southern expatriation and progressivism; explores the lost, revolutionary zeal of the early twentieth century; and muses on the fraught ties of sisterhood as the Lumpkins wrestle with orthodoxies of race, sexuality, and privilege.
Jacquelyn Dowd Hall is currently Julia Cherry Spruill Professor Emerita at UNC-Chapel Hill. She was awarded a National Humanities Medal for her efforts to deepen the nation's engagement with the humanities by "recording history through the lives of ordinary people, and, in so doing,for making history." She is the author or coauthor of prizewinning books and articles, including Revolt Against Chivalry: Jessie Daniel Ames and the Women's Campaign Against Lynching (1979); Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World (1987); and "The Long Civil Rights Movement and the Political Uses of the Past," Journal of American History (2005). She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has held numerous fellowships.
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