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Meet William G. Thomas III, Author of ‘A Question of Freedom’ (Prince George’s County Memorial Library) – VIRTUAL

December 8, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

AuthorTalk.WilliamThomas.QuestionOfFreedom.PrinceGeorgesPublicLibrary.November2020

Historian William G. Thomas III discusses his new book “A Question of Freedom: The Families Who Challenged Slavery from the Nation’s Founding to the Civil War.” William G. Thomas III is the John and Catherine Angle Chair in the Humanities and Professor of History at the University of Nebraska. He was co-founder and director of the Virginia Center for Digital History at the University of Virginia.

For over seventy years and five generations, the enslaved families of Prince George’s County, Maryland, filed hundreds of suits for their freedom against a powerful circle of slaveholders, taking their cause all the way to the Supreme Court. Between 1787 and 1861, these lawsuits challenged the legitimacy of slavery in American law and put slavery on trial in the nation’s capital. “A revelatory and fluidly written chronicle. . . . An essential account of an overlooked chapter in the history of American slavery.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review Piecing together evidence once dismissed in court and buried in the archives, William Thomas tells an intricate and intensely human story of the enslaved families (the Butlers, Queens, Mahoneys, and others), their lawyers (among them a young Francis Scott Key), and the slaveholders who fought to defend slavery, beginning with the Jesuit priests who held some of the largest plantations in the nation and founded a college at Georgetown. A Question of Freedom asks us to reckon with the moral problem of slavery and its legacies in the present day.

Purchase from Loyalty Bookstores (published 11/24): https://www.loyaltybookstores.com/book/9780300234121 

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Prince George’s County Memorial Library
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https://www.pgcmls.info/contact-us-471
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