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The Jay Family of New York: Abolition, Slavery, and an Enslaved Woman Named Abigail

Society Event: The Jay Family of New York, David Gellman
Society Event: The Jay Family of New York, Martha Jones

A Conversation between Martha Jones and David Gellman

Join Martha Jones and David Gellman for a Zoom Conversation on the an American Founding Family, the Jays, and how they approached slavery during early America, including the first Chief Justice John Jay and the enslaved woman, Abigail, that he took to Paris in the 1780s.

Professor Martha S. Jones is the Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor, Professor of History, and a Professor at the SNF Agora Institute at The Johns Hopkins University. She is a legal and cultural historian whose work examines how Black Americans have shaped the story of American democracy.

Her work includes four books. Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All (2020), was winner of the 2021 L.A. Times Book Prize for History, the finalist for the 2021 Mark Lynton History Prize, a 2021 MAAH Stone Book Award short list selection, a 2021 Cundill History Prize short list selection, and named a best book for 2020 by Ms., Time, Foreign Affairs, Black Perspectives, The Undefeated and Smithsonian. Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America (2018), was winner of the Organization of American Historians Liberty Legacy Award, the American Historical Association Littleton-Griswold Prize, the American Society for Legal History John Phillip Reid book award, and a Baltimore City Historical Society Scholars honor for 2020. She is also author of All Bound Up Together: The Woman Question in African American Public Culture 1830-1900 (2007) and a coeditor of Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women

University of North Carolina Press (2015), together with many articles and essays.

Professor Jones holds a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University and a J.D. from the CUNY School of Law.

David Gellman is a Professor of History at Depauw University. He is an Early American Historian, with a particular focus on efforts to abolish slavery from the Age of Revolution through the Civil War and on colonial North American society. He is the author of Liberty’s Chain: Slavery, Abolition, and the Jay Family of New York was published in Spring 2022 by Three Hills, an imprint of Cornell University Press. This multi-generational biography tells the story of John Jay, his descendants, and enslaved and formerly enslaved members of their households. He co-authored the textbook American Odysseys: A History of Colonial North America. Professor Gellman holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University.

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