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Town Hall Seattle: Civics Series

Town Hall’s Civics series highlights everything from local policies to world politics. These events offer perspectives on a range of topics as diverse as Seattle itself—a bustling forum for activism, discovery, and thought-provoking discussion.

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Aug 19, 2021

On June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, the end of legalized slavery in the state was announced. Since then, a certain narrative and lore has emerged about Texas. But as Juneteenth verges on being recognized as a national holiday, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annette Gordon-Reed—herself a Texas native and the descendant of enslaved people—reworks the traditional “Alamo” framework, forging a new and profound narrative of her home state with implications for all.

In conversation with South Seattle Emerald’s Marcus Harrison Green, she weaved together American history, dramatic family chronicle, and searing episodes of memoir chronicled in her book On Juneteenth. She recounted the origins of the date in Texas and the enormous hardships that African-Americans have endured since and explained how, from the earliest presence of Black people in Texas, African-Americans played an integral role in the state’s story. She demonstrated that the slave and race-based economy not only defined the fractious era of Texas independence but indeed caused the Mexican-American and Civil Wars.

Don’t miss this urgent program for an essential revision of conventional renderings of history, one that starkly reminds us that the fight for equality is demanding and ongoing.

Annette Gordon-Reed is the Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard University. The author of Pulitzer Prize-winning The Hemingses of Monticello, she lives in New York and Cambridge.

Marcus Harrison Green is the publisher of the South Seattle Emerald, and a columnist with Crosscut. After an unfulfilling stint working for a Los Angeles based hedge-fund in his twenties, Green returned to his community determined to tell its true story, which led him to found the South Seattle Emerald. He was named one of Seattle’s most influential people by Seattle Magazine in 2016.

Northwest African American Museum opened in 2008 and serves to present and preserve the connections between the Pacific Northwest and people of African descent, as well as investigate and celebrate Black experiences in America. It is the premier institution for showcasing African American art, history, and culture in the Pacific Northwest.

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Presented by Town Hall Seattle and NW African American Museum.