By David J. Kent
Friday, May 28, 2021
Annette Gordon-Reed is known best for her groundbreaking work on Thomas Jefferson's relationship of Sally Hemings, both in her first book Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy (1997) and a follow up book The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (2008). She won the Pulitzer Prize - and more than a dozen other prestigious awards - for the latter. Gordon-Reed is the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard University.
Now Gordon-Reed breaks new ground again with On Juneteenth, a blend of the history and her personal memoir growing up in Texas. "Juneteenth" is June 19th, the date in 1865 when U.S. Army General Gordon Granger entered Texas and informed the populace that all enslaved people were free - nearly three years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Originating in Galveston, Texas, the date is now celebrated annually throughout the United States. Many people are calling for it to be a national holiday.
Gordon-Reed will discuss her book in the National Archives program on June 2, 2021 from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. According to the Archives website:
"Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed tells the sweeping story of Juneteenth’s integral importance to American history and provides a historian’s view of the country’s long road to Juneteenth. She recounts both its origins in Texas and the enormous hardships that African Americans have endured in the years from Reconstruction through Jim Crow and beyond. Joining Annette Gordon-Reed in conversation will be Roy Young, CEO of James Madison’s Montpelier, and the Reverend Dr. Halliard Brown, Jr., a board member of the Orange County, Virginia, African-American Historical Society."
The program can be viewed for free on the National Archives YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FzUSXf1TI8
[Photo Credit: Harvard University]