History from Below
On "Turn: Washington's Spy" and "The Book of Negroes"
New Books Network 2021
In episode two we continue to examine the American Revolution, but we look at two series that focus less on the famous Founding Fathers and, instead, highlight the experiences of "ordinary people" people forced to negotiate fast-moving and complex events. They are Turn: Washington’s Spies and The Book of Negroes. We really want to emphasize how Turn and The Book of Negroes bring the stories of ordinary people to life, but in very different ways. When the Founding Fathers do make the occasional appearance on screen it works to reveal the contributions of those who are the invisible movers of events - farmers turned spies, for example, or enslaved people caught in the middle of a dispute that, if anything, could only worsen their plight.
Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here.