new book finally here

My new book, Remember Me to Miss Louisa: Hidden Black-White Intimacies in Antebellum America (Northern Illinois University Press, 2015) is finally in my publisher’s distribution center.

I opened this box  yesterday like a kid opening a present on Christmas morning.

My book delves into a difficult topic. It concerns how antebellum blacks and whites in the American South and elsewhere “knew” each other in ways that go beyond the all too familiar horrors of slavery. Using letters, diaries, business ledgers and other documents, I’ve tried to paint an accurate picture of the past. The Midwest also figures into this narrative. Before the Civil War, owing partly to the Mississippi-Ohio river network, Cincinnati was a sort of ground zero for the settlement of formerly enslaved people who were freed by southern white men who acted in inconsistent ways.

At present, I am taking it all in. I am reflecting on the many people including family, friends, professors, classmates, colleagues, and archivists who helped make this book a reality.

View of sky in Georgetown where one of the freedpeople in my book once lived after being freed in Huntsville, AL.
View of sky in Georgetown where one of the freedpeople in my book once lived. He was a native of Huntsville, Alabama.
back of book
Thank you, Nikki Taylor and Victoria Ott, for contributing blurbs.

I look forward to future conversations with others. I am already having one with a colleague in another department here at University of Alabama who generously took me to lunch today to celebrate.

Lemonade and sweet tea in downtown Tuscaloosa.

It’s been six hours since we parted and I’ve already read an article she wrote last summer that dovetails with this book, but also Dolen Perkins-Valdez’ work of fiction Wench. We’ll see how it all goes. That this is coming out at the same time I’m finishing a documentary I began 20 years ago makes this moment even more special.

Meanwhile, the new semester beckons. I don’t have to write any new lectures for my US to 1865 course or The Nineteenth Century City class. I do have to keep finding ways to engage my students and keep teaching and learning fun even for myself. Technology will certainly figure in. Onward.