Winner of the 2020 PEN America/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography, the 2020 Summersell Prize, a 2020 PROSE Award, and a Plutarch Award finalist “The word befitting this work is ‘masterpiece.’ ” —Paula J. Giddings, author of Ida: A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching
Descendants of a prominent slaveholding family, Elizabeth, Grace, and Katharine Lumpkin were raised in a culture of white supremacy. While Elizabeth remained a lifelong believer, her younger sisters sought their fortunes in the North, reinventing themselves as radical thinkers whose literary works and organizing efforts brought the nation’s attention to issues of region, race, and labor. National Humanities Award–winning historian Jacquelyn Dowd Hall follows the divergent paths of the Lumpkin sisters, tracing the wounds and unsung victories of the past. Hall revives a buried tradition of Southern expatriation and progressivism; explores the lost, revolutionary zeal of the early twentieth century; and muses on the fraught ties of sisterhood.
Grounded in decades of research, the family’s private papers, and interviews with Katharine and Grace, Sisters and Rebels unfolds an epic narrative of American history through the lives of three Southern women.
Jacquelyn Dowd Hall is the founding director of the Southern Oral History Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the coauthor of the prize-winning Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Introduction 1
Part 1 Home
Chapter 2 "Southerners of My People's Kind" 13
Chapter 3 "Lest We Forget" 31
Chapter 4 "Contrary Streams of Influence" 68
Part 2 "A New Heaven and a New Earth"
Chapter 5 "The Inner Motion Of Change" 97
Chapter 6 "Far-Thinking … Professional-Minded" Women 122
Chapter 7 "A Clear Show-Down" 148
Chapter 8 "Getting the World's Work Done" 182
Chapter 9 Writing and New York 205
Chapter 10 "Kok-I House" 229
Part 3 A Chosen Exile
Chapter 11 "The Heart of the Struggle" 255
Chapter 12 Culture and the Crisis 279
Chapter 13 Miss Lumpkin and Mrs. Douglas 299
Chapter 14 "Heartbreaking Gaps" 322
Chapter 15 Radical Dreams, Fascist Threats 342
Chapter 16 Sisters and Strangers 363
Part 4 Writing a Way Home
Chapter 17 "At the Threshold of Great Promise" 389