Credit: Jessica Tampas
Allyson Hobbs in conversation with Helena Brantley
Tuesday, March 15, 2016, 7:30 p.m.
Join us for a look back at the history of racial passing, and a topical discussion of race and identity problems in America today.
For centuries, countless African Americans passed as white, leaving behind families and friends, roots and community, almost always for the benefits of expanded opportunity and mobility. But along with these brighter possibilities came grief, loneliness, and isolation that often outweighed the rewards. A Chosen Exile is a beautiful, extensively researched book, with historical photographs and over 82 pages of notes.
As racial relations in America have evolved so has the significance of passing. To pass as white in the antebellum South was to escape the shackles of slavery. After emancipation, many African Americans came to regard passing as a form of betrayal, a selling of one's birthright. When the initially hopeful period of Reconstruction proved short-lived, passing became an opportunity to defy Jim Crow and strike out on one's own.
Allyson Hobbs is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Stanford. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and she received a Ph.D. with distinction from the University of Chicago. Hobbs teaches courses on African-American history, African-American women’s history and 20th century American history. Her research interests include American social and cultural history, racial mixture, identity formation, migration and urbanization, and the intersections of race, class and gender.
Helena Brantley is the founder of Red Pencil Publicity + Marketing, working with both publishers and authors. Previously, she managed publicity campaigns for HarperCollins. She is a proud alumna of the Stanford Publishing Course. Helena tweets and posts about books and other interesting things on Twitter and Instagram.
Happy New Year 2019!