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Complicated Lives

Free Blacks in Virginia, 1619–1865

by Sherri L. Burr

Forthcoming August 2019 paper


Tags: History, Legal History

"Complicated Lives has the potential to redefine the racial divide in our country in the most positive way of any book in my generation. We need to understand both our origins and the affection, anger, and fear that we carry within our collective integrated souls."—Theodore Parnall, Dean Emeritus, University of New Mexico, author of Life and Law in Interesting Places: An Improbably Journey

"Complicated Lives is a groundbreaking book that redefines everything I thought I knew about the history of slavery in the U.S. It belongs on the curriculum of every university and in the backpack of every student."—Judith Avila, bestselling co-author of Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir by One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII

Complicated Lives is a much-needed chronicle of the achievements and plight of free Blacks in America, and how many of our nation’s founding fathers and notables struggled with the dichotomy of slavery and freedom. This is a scholarly work that belongs on the shelves of all worthy historians, but also reads like a novel, making it approachable to the lay reader.” Frank Alan Burr, author of McKinley Memories: A Memoir of Growing Up in the American Suburbs of the 1950s and 60s and Common Thoughts: Poems and Essays

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