The author of Chariot on the Mountain, Emmy and Peabody Award-winning legal journalist Jack Ford, and Jami Floyd, host of WNYC’s All Things Considered, explore issues of race and justice in the American legal system through the lens of our earliest and most fundamental cases — some nearly 100 years before the Civil War — in which African American slaves sued their white owners for their freedom.
Disgracefully, many of these astonishing and courageous court cases have been forgotten to history. Perhaps because the cases were so often — and remarkably — pursued by those marginalized by both their skin color and their gender, but also perhaps because they were victorious. MumBet, who filed and won a freedom suit in 1780. Kitty Payne — the woman at the center of Jack Ford’s new book, Chariot on the Mountain — who sued her owner in Virginia 15 years before the Civil War and won. What happens when these 200-year-old cases are brought into the conversation today — in 2018 — when the question of whether a person of color can possibly get a fair trial in the American legal system is just as relevant than ever? Have things actually become more fair? Or less fair, just in a different way? And why do we so easily forget yesterday’s trials when considering issues of race and justice in today’s courts? Find out the answer to these questions and more!
A book signing follows the event.