Williams College Lecture Explores Black Americans, Birthright Citizenship, and the Making of Democracy before the Civil War

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, executive assistant; tele: 413-597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., August 27, 2019—Martha Jones, Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and professor of history at Johns Hopkins University, will deliver a talk titled “Birthright Citizens: Black Americans and the Making of Democracy before the Civil War” at Williams College. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held on Thursday, Sept. 12, from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. in Griffin Hall, room 3. A book signing will follow.

Jones is a legal and cultural historian whose work examines how black Americans have shaped the story of American democracy. She is also the author of Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and All Bound Up Together: The Woman Question in African American Public Culture 1830-1900 (University of North Carolina Press, 2007). In addition, she is a coeditor of Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women (University of North Carolina Press, 2015). She is currently completing Vanguard: A History of African American Women’s Politics (Basic)—to be published in 2020 in conjunction with the 19th Amendment’s centennial—and is working on a biography of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney.

Jones is recognized as a public historian, frequently writing for broader audiences at outlets such as The Washington Post, The AtlanticUSA TodayPublic Books, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Time, the curatorship of museum exhibitions including “Reframing the Color Line” and “Proclaiming Emancipation” in conjunction with the William L. Clements Library, and collaborations with the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, the Charles Wright Museum of African American History, the Southern Poverty Law Center, PBS, Netflix, and Arte (France.)

Jones currently serves as a president of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians and on the executive board of the Organization of American Historians.

This event is sponsored by the W. Ford Schumann ’50 Program in Democratic Studies and the departments of history and Africana studies. This event is part of the Schumann Fund initiative on Race and Democracy, now in its second year.


For building locations on the Williams campus, please consult the map outside the driveway entrance to the Security Office located in Hopkins Hall on Main Street (Rte. 2), next to the Thompson Memorial Chapel, or call the Office of Communications 413-597-4277. The map can also be found on the web at www.williams.edu/map