Sunday, March 31, 2019

Erased from history -- but not quite

Back in the day (when there had been only thirty-four presidents), I memorized all the presidents and their dates when they were featured with pictures on a full page of my grandparents' Chicago Tribune. I may have known the vice-presidents too, but I don't recall Richard M. Johnson (1837-1841). Even if I had known all the "First Ladies" I would have had trouble finding his wife Julia Chinn.

Much more recently, a friend drew my attention to a blog post at the Association of Black Women Historians. "The Erasure and Resurrection of Julia Chinn, U.S. Vice President Richard M. Johnson's Black Wife" will be the subject of a forthcoming book by Indiana University Bloomington professor Amrita Chakrabarty Myers. The post also references her earlier book, Forging Freedom: Black Women and the Pursuit of Liberty in Antebellum Charleston, 1790-1860. I look forward to reading both.

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