One of the cruel abuses of slavery in America was that slaves were forbidden to read and write. But as Trinity College Associate Professor of English and American Studies Christopher Hager reveals in his latest book, Word by Word: Emancipation and the Act of Writing, some enslaved African Americans did learn to read and write, and during the early years of emancipation thousands more became literate.
Word by Word reveals many of the writings from these individuals, letters and diaries by enslaved and newly-emancipated African Americans and freedmen. Their texts rewrite the story of emancipation and force readers to rethink the relationship between literacy and freedom. Christopher Hager joins us this afternoon, along with National Underground Freedom Center Manager of Program Initiatives, Chris Miller.
Christopher Hager is speaking at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center on Wednesday January 13 at 6 pm, as part of the Center's John and Francie Pepper Freedom Lecture Series. For information click here.