Hosted by Longfellow Books
Co-sponsored by Maine Historical Society and Mechanics’ Hall
Thursday, October 27, 2022 at 7:00pm
An in-person event at Mechanics’ Hall
519 Congress St 2nd Floor
Portland, ME 04101
Join Longfellow Books to celebrate the launch of LYDIA MARIA CHILD: A RADICAL AMERICAN LIFE by Lydia Moland. A compelling biography of Lydia Maria Child, one of nineteenth-century America’s most courageous abolitionists. With special guest Meadow Dibble, Founder & Executive Director of The Atlantic Black Box Project.
By 1830, Lydia Maria Child had established herself as something almost unheard of in the American nineteenth century: a beloved and self-sufficient female author. Best known today for the immortal poem “Over the River and through the Wood,” Child had become famous at an early age for spunky self-help books and charming children’s stories. But in 1833, Child shocked her readers by publishing the first book-length argument against slavery in the United States—a book so radical in its commitment to abolition that friends abandoned her, patrons ostracized her, and her book sales plummeted. Yet Child soon drew untold numbers to the abolitionist cause, becoming one of the foremost authors and activists of her generation.
Lydia Maria Child: A Radical American Life tells the story of what brought Child to this moment and the extraordinary life she lived in response. Through Child’s example, philosopher Lydia Moland asks questions as pressing and personal in our time as they were in Child’s: What does it mean to change your life when the moral future of your country is at stake? When confronted by sanctioned evil and systematic injustice, how should a citizen live? Child’s lifetime of bravery, conviction, humility, and determination provides a wealth of spirited guidance for political engagement today.
About the author: Lydia Moland is professor of philosophy at Colby College. Her scholarship in German philosophy, including Hegel’s Aesthetics: The Art of Idealism, has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the ACLS, and the American Academy in Berlin. Her work on Lydia Maria Child has appeared in the Paris Review, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, and on National Public Radio.
With special guest, Meadow Dibble. Director of Community-Engaged Research at the Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous, and Tribal Populations in Maine and a Visiting Scholar at Brown University’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice. She received her Ph.D. from Brown’s Department of French and taught Francophone African literature at Colby College from 2005–08.
PRAISE FOR LYDIA MARIA CHILD
“Lydia Maria Child was one of the few great intellectual freedom fighters in nineteenth-century America. Moland’s magisterial book takes us in and through Child’s rich world and life in an exemplary manner. Don’t miss this powerful text on a giant still so relevant to our bleak times.”—Cornel West, author of Race Matters
“Moland’s exuberant new biography gives us a Lydia Maria Child for the twenty-first century: a woman of fierce intelligence and astonishing ingenuity who never gave up the struggle to right the wrongs of enslavement and its legacy of race prejudice. Moland writes with a philosopher’s instinct to question both herself and the evidence she uncovers, yielding an intimate portrait that is also a history of America’s centuries-long reckoning with its founding principles.”—Megan Marshall, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Margaret Fuller: A New American Life
“This is a biography on a mission. As Moland shows us, to discover Child is to discover ourselves, revealing the best and worst of who we are. This is a brilliantly written book: stylish, witty, barbed yet sympathetic.” —Laura Dassow Walls, author of Henry David Thoreau: A Life
By Lydia Moland
Availability: Coming Soon – Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: University of Chicago Press – October 31st, 2022