Jacquelyn Dowd Hall discusses Sisters and Rebels: A Struggle for the Soul of America
Thursday 6/6, 7 pm
Sisters and Rebels follows the divergent paths of three sisters, born in late nineteenth-century Georgia, who were estranged and yet forever entangled by their mutual obsession with the South. 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 for themselves. Seeking their fortunes in the North, Grace and Katharine reinvented themselves as radical, progressive thinkers whose literary works and organizing efforts brought the nation’s attention to issues of region, race, gender and privilege.
Tracing the wounds and unsung victories of the past, Hall draws upon decades of research, the family’s private memoirs and papers and extensive personal interviews with Katharine and Grace to revive a buried history of Southern progressivism; explore the lost, revolutionary zeal of the early twentieth century; and crucially examine on the fraught ties of sisterhood. Sisters and Rebels speaks deeply to the foundational power of the stories we tell.
Founding director of the esteemed Southern Oral History Program and the Julia Cherry Spruill Professor of History Emerita at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Jacquelyn Dowd Hall is the author of Revolt Against Chivalry: Jessie Daniel Ames and the Women’s Campaign Against Lynching and coauthor of the prize-winning Like a Family: The Making a Southern Cotton Mill World.
Praise for SISTERS AND REBELS:
“A sweeping, richly detailed intellectual and political history of America...an absorbing narrative based on impressive scholarship…Sharply etched biographical portraits focus a compelling history.” —Kirkus, starred review
“A tour de force from a remarkable historian. Jacquelyn Hall’s long-awaited chronicle of the Lumpkin sisters offers unparalleled insight into the complexities of gender and race in the lives of white southerners.” —Drew Gilpin Faust, author of This Republic of Suffering
“The word befitting this work is ‘masterpiece.’ Sisters and Rebels is an impassioned, elegant, evocative narrative that turns biography into art and scholarship into the profound understanding of a South searching for its soul.” —Paula J. Giddings, author of Ida: A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching
“An absolutely necessary, totally engaging history. Hall speaks from her own long relationship with the sisters as well as her rigorous and comprehensive scholarship, adding yet another dimension to this fine history that reads like a novel.” —Lee Smith, author of The Last Girls: A Novel