Oct. 2 | Sisters and Rebels: A Struggle for the Soul of America - College of Charleston Libraries

September 20, 2019
Friends of the Library, Events

Three sisters from the South wrestle with orthodoxies of race, sexuality, and privilege.

Join National Humanities Award–winning historian Jacquelyn Dowd Hall on October 2nd as she discusses her new book, Sisters and Rebels: A Struggle for the Soul of America, as part of the College of Charleston Friends of the Library Fall 2019 event series. Historian Marjorie Spruill will moderate the discussion. Book signing to follow the program.


When: Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019 | 6:30—8:30 p.m.

Where: Addlestone Library Rm. 227 (second floor), 205 Calhoun Street.

Tickets: Free and open to the public; Registration is required.


About Sisters and Rebels: A Struggle for the Soul of America

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.

Grounded in decades of research, the family’s private papers, and interviews with Katharine and Grace, Sisters and Rebels unfolds an epic narrative of American history through the lives and works of three Southern women.

About the Author

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. Her most recent publication is “The Good Fight,” in Mothers and Strangers: Essays on Motherhood from the New South, ed. Samia Serageldin and Lee Smith (forthcoming, UNC Press, April 2019).

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Addlestone Library is open to the College of Charleston community and affiliates via card access. Visitors may access Addlestone Library Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm, and must present a government issued ID and sign in upon entry.