Author talk: Carolyn Karcher on ‘A Refugee from His Race’
Join us Wednesday, July 20 at 7pm for a reading by local author Carolyn L. Karcher.
Karcher will read from her book A Refugee from His Race: Albion W. Tourgée and His Fight against White Supremacy. A Q&A session will follow the reading. Snacks and drinks will be provided. This event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase.
About the author: Carolyn L. Karcher is the author of The First Woman in the Republic: A Cultural Biography of Lydia Maria Child and the editor of Tourgée’s novel Bricks Without Straw.
About the book: During one of the darkest periods of U.S. history, when white supremacy was entrenching itself throughout the nation, the white writer-jurist-activist Albion W. Tourgée (1838-1905) forged an extraordinary alliance with members of the African American community. Acclaimed by blacks as “one of the best friends of the Afro-American people this country has ever produced” and reviled by white Southerners as a race traitor, Tourgée offers an ideal lens through which to reexamine the often caricatured relations between progressive whites and African Americans. He collaborated closely with African Americans in founding an interracial civil rights organization eighteen years before the inception of the NAACP, in campaigning against lynching alongside Ida B. Wells and Cleveland Gazette editor Harry C. Smith, and in challenging the ideology of segregation as lead counsel for people of color in the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case. Here, Carolyn L. Karcher provides the first in-depth account of this collaboration. Drawing on Tourgée’s vast correspondence with African American intellectuals, activists, and ordinary people, on African American newspapers and on his newspaper column, “A Bystander’s Notes,” in which he quoted and replied to letters from his correspondents, the book also captures the lively dialogue about race that Tourgée and his contemporaries carried on.
“This is a remarkable book that promises to be the definitive study of Albion W. Tourgée’s civil rights activism in the final decades of his life. Carolyn L. Karcher tells Tourgée’s story as no one before her has, illuminating the complexity of his relationship with black activists and leaders. She takes us to the front lines of the doomed struggle against racism and Jim Crow in the 1890s and provides a new perspective on it.” –Mark Elliott, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
July 6, 2016 / riverbybooksdc /
11am to 7pm Daily
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