Back to All Events

Allyson Hobbs, Author of A Chosen Exile, speaks with Helena Brantley

Venue: Kepler's Books, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA. 

Hosts: Peninsula Arts & Letters and Kepler's Books.

Speakers: Allyson Hobbs is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Stanford University. She 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.

Description: 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.

Seating area opens at 6:30pm. This event is free but please register here.