Exploring themes of personal identity, families, immigration, and social and cultural history

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Anna Malaika Tubbs with The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation

Virtual Event: Tuesday, February 23 at 6 PM EST

Moderator: L’Merchie Frazier of the Museum of African American History
Presented in partnership with Boston Public Library, State Library of Massachusetts, and the Museum of African American History

A scholar shares stories of motherhood and the making of American history

In this groundbreaking and essential debut work, scholar Anna Malaika Tubbs celebrates Black motherhood by telling the stories of the women who raised and shaped three remarkable, heroic Americans: Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin. Don’t miss this discussion about The Three Mothers, described by Yale University historian Elizabeth Hinton as “a profound reflection on the contours of Black freedom in the twentieth century and beyond…an essential celebration of Black women, one that illuminates the history of racism and resistance in critical new ways. A timely and important book."

Anna Malaika Tubbs is a PhD candidate in Sociology at Cambridge University, where she also earned an MA in Multidisciplinary Gender Studies. Her undergraduate degree in Anthropology is from Stanford University. A passionate writer and speaker on issues of gender and race, Tubbs is an educator and a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultant. Her work has been published in For Harriet, Darling Magazine, Huffington Post, and Blavity. As the first partner of Stockton, California (2016–2020), she co-authored the first Report on the Status of Women in Stockton.

L’Merchie Frazier is Director of Education and Interpretation at the Museum of African American History in Boston and Nantucket.

Russell Shorto with Smalltime: A Story of My Family and the Mob

Virtual Event: Tuesday, March 2 at 6 PM EST

Moderator: Author Alexander Stille of Columbia Journalism School

The best-selling author and historian looks at his own family and their secrets

Praised for his incisive works of narrative history, Russell Shorto never thought to write about his own past. He grew up “knowing” about his grandfather and namesake, but he maintained an unspoken family vow of silence. Then an elderly relative prodded: You’re a writer—what are you gonna do about “the story”? Enlisting the help of his ailing father, Shorto traces his family’s history from a brawny postwar factory town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, back to an ancient, dusty, hill-town in Risorgimento Sicily; and documents three generations of the American immigrant experience. Don’t miss hearing about his family, the mob, and Smalltime – a moving, wryly funny, and irresistible memoir by a masterful writer of historical narrative.

Russell Shorto is the best-selling author of The Island at the Center of the World, Amsterdam, and Revolution Song, and a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine.

Alexander Stille is a Professor at Columbia Journalism School and the prize-winning author of numerous books focused on Italy, as well as the memoir The Force of Things.

A Conversation on Recreating Place: Uncovering, Interpreting, and Presenting the Past with Elliot Bostwick Davis, Christina Schwarz, and Kyle Hurst

Virtual Panel Discussion: Tuesday, March 16 at 6 PM EST

Course materials available March 9

This online educational course brings together experts from three fields — museum studies, literature, and genealogy

Experts will share their various perspectives, resources, and methods for researching and presenting historical times and places. The panel discussion and online course material will provide a great education for family historians and writers, the culturally curious and history-minded travelers. (Note: Novelist Christina Schwarz, the author of Drowning Ruth and Bonnie, joined us in the American Inspiration series last December.)

John Matteson with A Worse Place Than Hell: How the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg Changed a Nation

Virtual Event: Tuesday, March 23 at 6 PM EST

Moderator: Historian Debby Applegate
In partnership with Porter Square Books and GBH Forum Network

The Pulitzer Prize–winning author illuminates three harrowing months of the Civil War and their enduring legacy for America

December 1862 drove the United States toward a breaking point. The Battle of Fredericksburg shattered Union forces and Northern confidence. As Abraham Lincoln’s government threatened to fracture, this critical moment also tested five extraordinary individuals – Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., army chaplain Arthur Fuller, Walt Whitman, Louisa May Alcott, and John Pelham, a West Point cadet on the other side of the national schism. The changes they underwent led to profound repercussions in the country’s law, literature, politics, and popular mythology. Don’t miss hearing about their lives and this new work that interweaves the historic and the personal beautifully and powerfully.

John Matteson received the Pulitzer Prize for Biography for Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father and the Ann M. Sperber Prize for The Lives of Margaret Fuller. A Distinguished Professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the editor of The Annotated Little Women.

Debby Applegate is an historian and biographer. Her first book, The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher, won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for biography and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for biography.


Questions? Please email signatureevents@nehgs.org
or call 617-226-1215 or 888-296-3447.