Art, Entertainment, and Culture

Tufts Historian to Share Family’s Story at Royall House- Updated

Update January 16, 2018: The event has been moved to February 7 due to the weather

On Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 7:30 p.m., historian Kendra Field will talk about her new book, “Growing Up with the Country: Family, Race, and Nation after the Civil War.”

Following the lead of her own ancestors, Tufts University history professor Kendra Taira Field’s epic family history chronicles the westward migration of freedom’s first generation in the fifty years after emancipation. Drawing on decades of archival research and family lore within and beyond the United States, Field details lives and choices of three African-American families that deepen and widen the roots of the Great Migration, exploring how ideas about race and color powerfully shaped the pursuit of freedom.

When statehood, oil speculation, and Jim Crow segregation imperiled their lives and livelihoods, these formerly enslaved men and women again chose emigration. Some migrants launched a powerful back-to-Africa movement, while others moved on to Canada and Mexico. Their lives and choices deepen and widen the roots of the Great Migration. Interweaving black, white, and Indian histories, Field’s narrative explores how ideas about race and color powerfully shaped the pursuit of freedom.

The event will be held at the Royall House and Slave Quarters at 15 George Street, Medford, and is free to Royall House and Slave Quarters members. General admission is $10. Copies of “Growing Up with the Country” will be available for purchase and signing at the event.

On-street parking is available, and the museum is located on the 96 and 101 MBTA bus routes. Please email for more information or visit Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

About the speaker: Kendra Field is assistant professor of history and director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at Tufts University. Awarded fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Huntington Library, and Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center in American History, Field is the recipient of several nonfiction writing awards. She has advised and appeared in historical documentaries including Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross” and “Roots: A History Revealed.” Field received her Ph.D. in American History from New York University. She also holds a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a B.A. from Williams College.

About the museum: In the eighteenth century, the Royall House and Slave Quarters was home to the largest slaveholding family in Massachusetts and the enslaved Africans who made their lavish way of life possible. Architecture, household items, and archaeological artifacts bear witness to the intertwined stories of wealth and bondage, set against the backdrop of America’s quest for independence. The Slave Quarters is the only remaining such structure in the northern United States, and the Royall House is among the finest
colonial-era buildings in New England.

– Submitted by Royall House Director Tom Lincoln

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