Noah Webster Library
Bishops Corner Branch
Virtual library events for our community to enjoy from home!
THIS PROGRAM IS A VIRTUAL-ONLY EVENT. REGISTER BELOW BY LEAVING YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO RECEIVE LOGIN AND CALL-IN INSTRUCTIONS (SENT TO YOU ONE DAY BEFORE THE PROGRAM).
Priscilla Joyner was born into the world of slavery in 1858 North Carolina and came of age at the dawn of emancipation. Raised by a white slaveholding woman, Joyner never knew the truth about her parentage. She grew up isolated and unsure of who she was and where she belonged—feelings that no emancipation proclamation could assuage.
Her life story—candidly recounted in an oral history for the Federal Writers’ Project—captures the intimate nature of freedom. Using Joyner’s interview and the interviews of other formerly enslaved people, historian Carole Emberton uncovers the deeply personal, emotional journeys of freedom’s charter generation—the people born into slavery who walked into a new world of freedom during the Civil War. From the seemingly mundane to the most vital, emancipation opened up a myriad of new possibilities: what to wear and where to live, what jobs to take and who to love.
Carole is a historian and writer focusing on the American South. A native of Kentucky, she grew up with a keen awareness of the racial dividing lines operating around her but unsure of how or why they existed. She's spent much of her life trying to figure them out.
Her work explores the traumatic histories of race and violence in the American past. Her first book, Beyond Redemption, revealed how the protracted violence of the Civil War shaped Americans’ understanding of citizenship and national belonging, giving rise to a political culture that embraced violence as a necessary crucible of freedom. Her latest book, To Walk About in Freedom: The Long Emancipation of Priscilla Joyner, explores the lived experiences of freedom’s charter generation – the people who were born in slavery but who came of age during the tumultuous period of war and Reconstruction.
Her writing on these and other issues related to racial politics in America have appeared in the New York Times and Washington Post, among other outlets. She is currently a professor of history at the University at Buffalo. As a first-generation college student, the success of this important but often overlooked group on America’s campuses is close to her heart. She is to thrilled to be a part of UB’s “Proud to Be First” initiative to connect, support, and guide first-generation students in their college journey.