Please join The Forum and the Lehman Center for American History, a collaboration between the Department of History and Columbia University Libraries, on Thursday, September 23 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. for an important discussion, deferred from last academic year, of the 2020 History Pulitzer Prize winning book, Sweet Taste of Liberty. The panel will feature the book’s author, Prof. Caleb McDaniel of Rice University; the panel will be hosted and moderated by Columbia University History Professor and Lehman Center Co-Director Stephanie McCurry, and will include Columbia graduate Jordan Brewington as Interlocutor. A Q&A session will follow the discussion. Viewers may submit questions for the speakers via Slido.
Sweet Taste of Liberty investigates the life of Henrietta Wood, an enslaved woman freed in 1848 but violently abducted back into slavery in 1853. Her experiences of losing the sweet taste of liberty – but fighting to regain it in 1870 and ultimately hold her kidnapper legally responsible for restitution – are an important and inspiring story for us in 2021.
As Prof. McDaniel shares with us in this remarkable feat of research and writing: “Slavery concealed many of the things that historians most want to know about enslaved people: their experiences, their feelings, their family histories …. Nineteenth century records about black women in particular faced an uphill battle for survival in the archives. … the archive of slavery we have is itself an artifact of slaveholders’ power and violence in the past. … Denying a past to enslaved people was not incidental to slavery, but essential to the whole system of dispossession and domination.”