Anna-Lisa Cox - "The Bone and the Sinew of the Land"

Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Anna-Lisa Cox

“Tracing the free black families who settled the nation’s first frontier, the great Northwest Territory, Anna-Lisa Cox convincingly shows that African American history has always been interwoven with the pioneer experience in America. At the same time, she reveals the blurred, often dangerous lines between freedom and bondage even in the territories that the Founding Fathers established from the beginning to be beyond the reach of America’s original sin: slavery…. The Bone and Sinew of the Land is a revelation of primary historical research that is written with the beauty and empathic powers of a novel.” —Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University

“The journey of America’s Black pioneers is a story that remains unknown to Americans like the frontiers they settled. Starting in the earliest days of the republic, these brave men and women built new lives far away from the White enslavers who doubted them, threatened them, and attacked them. This groundbreaking work of research is a beautifully written testament to their bold courage, to their trailblazing strength.” —Ibram X. Kendi, New York Times bestselling author of Stamped from the Beginning

Anna-Lisa Cox discusses The Bone and Sinew of the Land: America's Forgotten Black Pioneers and the Struggle for Equality. The discussion will be followed by Q&A and signing. 

At the Co-op

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required.)


About the book: The long-hidden stories of America’s black pioneers, the frontier they settled, and their fight for the heart of the nation.
When black settlers Keziah and Charles Grier started clearing their frontier land in 1818, they couldn’t know that they were part of the nation’s earliest struggle for equality; they were just looking to build a better life. But within a few years, the Griers would become early Underground Railroad conductors, joining with fellow pioneers and other allies to confront the growing tyranny of bondage and injustice.
The Bone and Sinew of the Land tells the Griers’ story and the stories of many others like them: the lost history of the nation’s first Great Migration. In building hundreds of settlements on the frontier, these black pioneers were making a stand for equality and freedom. Their new home, the Northwest Territory—the wild region that would become present-day Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin—was the first territory to ban slavery and have equal voting rights for all men. Though forgotten today, in their own time the successes of these pioneers made them the targets of racist backlash. Political and even armed battles soon ensued, tearing apart families and communities long before the Civil War.
This groundbreaking work of research reveals America’s forgotten frontier, where these settlers were inspired by the belief that all men are created equal and a brighter future was possible.

About the author: Anna-Lisa Cox is the author of A Stronger Kinship: One Town’s Extraordinary Story of Hope and Faith and an award-winning historian. Currently a fellow at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, she also recently helped create two historical exhibits based on her original research at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, including one on black pioneers. She lives in Michigan.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S. Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637