Author Jessica Millward believes the work of the historian can bring resolution to decades—and in some cases, centuries—of pain. In her book Finding Charity’s Folk: Enslaved and Free Black Women in Maryland, Millward explored history “beyond the archives” to paint a fuller picture of the lives of free and enslaved Black women from Maryland’s past, and discovered that it was a pathway to peace.
“Peace is exactly what, ideally, something like Hard Histories will do,” Millward said. “It will resurrect [the memory of people who were enslaved], and in resurrecting their memory and lodging them into the historical record, I also believe that will help their souls find peace.”
Monday, Millward engaged in a discussion with history professor Martha Jones as a part of the book discussion series sponsored by the Hard Histories at Hopkins Project, a university initiative launched in 2020 examining the role that racism and discrimination has played at Johns Hopkins. The book discussion series is hosted by the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins.
Established in the wake of revelations that university founder Johns Hopkins held slaves, the Hard Histories project blends research, teaching, and public discussions in order to create a repository of scholarly engagement and interpretation while keeping the perspectives of enslaved people at the forefront. The project is conducted out of the SNF Agora Institute.
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