Tufts Professor Kerri K. Greenidge in Conversation with Harold Holzer

On Sunday, March 19, at 4 p.m., JHC will welcome Tufts professor Kerri K. Greenidge to discuss her critically acclaimed new book, “The Grimkes: The Legacy of Slavery in an American Family,” which was recently featured on the cover of the New York Times Book Review and named one of the Times’s “100 Notable Books” of 2022. The event will be moderated by renowned Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer.


Greenidge’s book–which was also named one of the best books of the year by NPR, Oprah Daily, Smithsonian, the Boston Globe, and the Boston Public Library–tells the story of Sarah and Agnes Grimke, “revered figures in American history, famous for rejecting their privileged lives on a plantation in South Carolina to become firebrand activists in the North.” Previous tellings of the story, however, “have long obscured their Black relatives.” Greenidge, by contrast, “presents a parallel narrative, indeed a long-overdue corrective, shifting the focus from the white abolitionist sisters to the Black Grimkes and deepening our understanding of the long struggle for racial and gender equality.”

Professor Michael P. Jeffries of Wellesley College, in his review in the Times, praised Greenidge’s narrative as an “ambitious book, not only because of its large cast of characters, but because it offers so many insights about racial strife in the United States…. Greenidge provides a consummate cartography of racial trauma, demonstrating through an adept use of the family’s letters, diaries, and other archival materials, how the physical and emotional abuses of slavery traveled through generations long after abolition.”

Kerri K. Greenidge (official bio):
Greenidge is the Mellon Assistant Professor in the Department of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora at Tufts University. She is the author of Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter (2019). Listed by the New York Times as one of its top picks of 2019, the book is the first biography of Boston editor, William Monroe Trotter, written in nearly fifty years. The book received the Mark Lynton Prize in History, the Massachusetts Book Award, the J. Anthony Lukas Award, the Sperber Award from Fordham University, and the Peter J. Gomes Book Prize from the Massachusetts Historical Society. Black Radical was also short-listed for the Stone Book Award from the Museum of African American History, Boston, the Cundill History Prize, and the Plutarch Award for Best biography.

Greenidge received her doctorate in American Studies from Boston University. In addition to Black Radical, she is author of The Grimkes: The Legacy of Slavery in An American Family. Her writings have appeared in the Massachusetts Historical Review, the Radical History Review, the New Yorker, the Atlantic, and the Guardian. At Tufts University, she also co-directs the African American Trail Project.


Harold Holzer (official bio):
Holzer, winner of The 2015 Gilder-Lehrman Lincoln Prize, is one of the country’s leading authorities on Abraham Lincoln and the political culture of the Civil War era. A prolific writer and lecturer, and frequent guest on television, Holzer served for six years (2010–2016) as Chairman of The Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation. For the previous 10 years he co-chaired the U. S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission (ALBC), appointed by President Clinton. President Bush awarded Holzer the National Humanities Medal in 2008. And in 2013, Holzer wrote an essay on Lincoln for the official program at the re-inauguration of President Obama. He is now chairman of The Lincoln Forum.


The Jay Heritage Center (JHC) is an educational nonprofit and the steward of the Jay Estate in Rye, New York, a 23-acre National Historic Landmark site and public park. JHC hosts programs in American history, social justice, environmental stewardship, architecture, and preservation. Learn more at jayheritagecenter.org or email peraino.jhc@gmail.com for more information.