Co-presented with Elliott Bay Books. W. Caleb McDaniel in conversation with Johann Neem.
Sweet Taste of Liberty tells the story of Henrietta Wood who was born enslaved, freed before the Civil War, kidnapped and re-enslaved, and then freed again by the war. In 1870, she sued the man who had kidnapped and enslaved her in a federal court---and won. A jury awarded her $2,500 in a rare case of restitution that has relevance to ongoing debates about reparations for slavery in the present.
McDaniel's book tells an epic tale, that of a black woman who struggled against a monolithic system of oppression and achieved more than merely a moral victory over it. Above all, Sweet Taste of Liberty is a tribute to and a portrait of an extraordinary individual.
W. Caleb McDaniel is a historian of the nineteenth-century United States and the author of the prize-winning book, "The Problem of Democracy in the Age of Slavery" (2013). A native Texan, he received his Ph.D in 2006 from the Johns Hopkins University and now teaches at Rice University in Houston.
Johann Neem is a professor of history at Western Washington University. His written works include Democracy’s Schools: The Rise of Public Education in America, and pieces published in the Washington Post, USA Today, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Seattle Times, and Inside Higher Education. Neem has also been interviewed on education for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and in a feature for PBS Newshour.