Thursday, January 20, 2022

Tracing the Remarkable Journey of a Multiracial Jewish Family









Tuesday, February 1, 7:30 p.m., on Zoom


Once We Were Slaves: The Extraordinary Journey of a Multiracial Jewish Family


The Toby and Herbert Stolzer Annual Lecture


Award-winning historian Laura Arnold Leibman shares the story of an early American family of mixed Jewish and African descent--a story that mirrors as much as ten percent of the Jewish communities of the time.



A descendant of one of the most prominent Jewish families since the American Revolution, Blanche Moses firmly believed that her maternal ancestors were members of the Sephardic elite. Yet, she was unable to trace her grandmother’s maternal line. Professor Leibman spent a decade unraveling the mystery, discovering that Moses's grandmother and great-uncle began their lives poor, Christian, and enslaved in Barbados. Leibman will discuss how they transformed their lives, becoming free, wealthy, Jewish, and—at times—white.


Laura Arnold Leibman, Professor of English and Humanities at Reed College, has published widely. Her previous book, The Art of the Jewish Family: A History of Women in Early New York in Five Objects, won three National Jewish Book Awards.



Thanks to an endowed gift in 2002, The Toby and Herbert Stolzer Annual Lecture has enabled the Bildner Center to present timely and compelling programs each year. From the inaugural talk, “The Social History of the Bagel," to today, we are grateful for the support and generosity of the Stolzer family, which has benefited the entire community.