6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

The Myth of Race and Its Many Political Uses, from the Colonial Era to Obama’s America

Washington History Seminar
Historical Perspectives on International and National Affairs

The Myth of Race and Its Many Political Uses, from the Colonial Era to Obama’s America

Jacqueline Jones

In this presentation, Jacqueline Jones will focus upon the different uses of the myth of race in specific times and places. The life-stories of a Maryland slave murdered by his master; a fugitive in Revolutionary South Carolina; a savvy businesswoman in antebellum Providence; a principled Republican in post-Civil War Savannah; a school principal in segregationist Mississippi; and a Marxist autoworker in industrial Detroit all suggest the shifting, contradictory nature of racial mythologies from the seventeenth century to the present.

Jacqueline Jones teaches at the University of Texas at Austin where she directs the history graduate program.  She is the author of a number of books in African-American and labor history, including A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama’s America (2013).  She has received, among other awards, the Bancroft Prize in American history and a MacArthur Fellowship (1999-2004). She is currently Vice-President of the Professional Division of the American Historical Association.

Report from the Field: To be announced

Monday December 9, 2013
4:00 p.m. 
Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor Moynihan Board Room
Ronald Reagan Building, Federal Triangle Metro Stop


Reservations requested because of limited seating:
mbarber@historians.org or 202-450-3209

This is the last session of 2013. The seminar will resume on January 13, 2014 with a talk by
Risa Goluboff (University of Virginia)

The seminar is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center. It meets weekly during the academic year. See www.nationalhistorycenter.org for the schedule, speakers, topics, and dates as well as webcasts and podcasts. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations for its support.


  • Jacqueline Jones

    Director, Graduate Program in History, University of Texas at Austin