A Lecture by Christopher Bonner
Join the Supreme Court Historical Society for a lunchtime discussion with Christopher Bonner on his recent book, Remaking the Republic: Black Politics and the Creation of American Citizenship, published in March 2020 with the University of Pennsylvania Press. This book centers free black Americans in the legal transformations of the United States during the mid-nineteenth century. Black people from across the antebellum free states used citizenship in their public demands for rights and protections, and their political work helped spur and shape the development of citizen status. African American protest helped to make citizenship a legal status that connected individuals to the federal government through a bundle of rights and obligations. The book links antebellum black politics to Reconstruction-era constitutional developments and considers the ways black people grappled with the limits of formal legal change. The book won the James Broussard Best First Book Prize from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.
Professor Bonner is currently at work on a project considering how enslaved people navigated commercial networks as they sought to purchase freedom in the early nineteenth century.
Professor Bonner is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland College Park. He teaches courses covering African American politics and culture, slavery and emancipation in the Atlantic world, the transformations of the United States during the nineteenth century, and race and ethnicity in early America. Originally from Chesapeake, VA, he earned his B.A. from Howard University and Ph.D. from Yale University.