Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor
Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor specializes in 19th-century U.S. history and race. Her first book, Colored Travelers: Mobility and the Fight for Citizenship before the Civil War, is a social history of black activists who, long before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus, fought against segregation on public vehicles. Pryor argues that their protest elevated the cars, compartments and cabins of public transportation to the frontlines for the battle over equal rights in the 19th century. Her essay, “The Etymology of [the N-word]: Resistance, Language, and the Politics of Freedom in the Antebellum North,” won the Ralph D. Gray Prize for the best article of 2016 in the Journal of the Early Republic. Her next project, inspired by the article as well as her teaching at Smith College, is a historical and pedagogical study of the n-word framed, in part, by her experience as a biracial woman in the United States. Her Ted-X talk on “Why It’s So Hard to Talk About the N-Word”, is a powerful and poignant reflection. At the Power of Truths Arts & Education Festival, Professor Pryor will speak to these themes and more.