Published 1 hour ago
Written by Tianna Faulkner
Pulitzer Prize winning author and historian Annette Gordon-Reed has written a new book “On Juneteenth,” a memoir about the history of Texas while weaving in stories from her childhood. Born in Livingston, while growing up in Conroe, Texas, Gordon-Reed reminisces about growing up in the segregated South and her experiences as the first Black child in her town to go to an all-white school. She also shares poignant memories of celebrating Juneteenth as a child.
Currently teaching at Harvard University, Gordon-Reed is well-known as the author of “Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings, An American Controversy,” and “The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family,” with the latter earning her the Pulitzer Prize. Her new book now gives readers a deeper insight on the history of Juneteenth and explains why people across the country should celebrate the day.
BET.com: Why did you write this book? What was your inspiration behind this project?
Annette Gordon-Reed: I wrote this book because I wanted to give people a different view of Texas and talk about some of my experiences growing up there. There is a lot about Texas that people do not know. Also, my editor had been after me to write a book about Texas, so during the pandemic, I wrote this book.
BET.com: Why was it so important to share your personal experiences about growing up in Texas in the book?
Annette Gordon-Reed: I decided that I wanted to talk about these stories through the people of Texas and the relationships all these groups have: Indigenous people, African Americans, Europeans, Anglo Americans, and Latinos.