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Horton, Lois E.

Horton, Lois E.

PERSONAL: Married James Oliver Horton (a professor). Education: Brandeis University, Ph.D., 1977.

ADDRESSES: OfficeGeorge Mason University, 4400 University Dr., Fairfax, VA 22030.

CAREER: George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, professor of sociology.

AWARDS, HONORS: Pulitzer Prize nomination, 1997, for In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community and Protest among Northern Free Blacks, 1700-1860: Annual Scholarly Recognition Award, George Mason University College of Arts and Sciences, 1998.

WRITINGS:

(With husband, James Oliver Horton) Black Bostonians: Family Life and Community Struggle in the Antebellum North, Holmes & Meier Publishers (New York, NY), 1979, revised and enlarged edition, 1999.

(Consulting editor, with James Oliver Horton) A History of the African-American People: The History, Traditions, and Culture of African Americans, Salamander Books (London, England), 1995, 2nd edition, Wayne State University Press (Detroit, MI), 1997.

(With James Oliver Horton) In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community, and Protest among Northern Free Blacks, 1700-1860, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1997.

(With James Oliver Horton and Norbert Finzsch) Von Benin nach Baltimore: Geschichte der African Americans vom Beginn des transatlantischen Sklavenhandels bis in die neueste Zeit, Hamburger Edition (Hamburg, Germany), 1999.

(With James Oliver Horton) Hard Road to Freedom: The Story of African America, Rutgers University Press (New Brunswick, NJ), 2000.

(With James Oliver Horton) Slavery and the Making of America, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Contributor to books, including Courage and Conscience: Black and White Abolitionists in Boston, edited by Donald M. Jacobs, University of Indiana Press (Bloomington, IN), 1993; Free People of Color, by James Oliver Horton, Smithsonian Press (Washington, DC), 1993; Identity and Intolerance: Nationalism, Racism, and Xenophobia in Germany and the United States, edited by Dietmar Schirmer and Norbert Finzsch, German Historical Institute/Cambridge University Press, 1998; and Negotiations of America's National Identity, Volume 2, edited by Roland Hagen-buechle and Josef Raab, Stauffenburg Verlag (Tübingen, Germany), 2000. Contributor of articles to journals, including Chicago-Kent Law Review and Journal of the Early Republic.

SIDELIGHTS: Husband and wife team Lois E. and James O. Horton are respected scholars of the history and sociology of African Americans. Both university professors, they have released several scholarly surveys and studies regarding the important contributions blacks have made in the centuries since they first appeared in the North American colonies. Among their works are the Pulitzer Prize-nominated In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community, and Protest among Northern Free Blacks, 1700-1860 and the more recent Hard Road to Freedom: The Story of African America and Slavery and the Making of America.

Noting that other scholars have written studies on blacks in the northern states dating back to the Revolutionary period, African American Review contributor Peter H. Wood noted that the Hortons' In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community, and Protest among Northern Free Blacks, 1700-1860 offers a much more thorough treatment on the history of blacks during and even decades before the American Revolution. The Hortons reveal that there were many free blacks living, working, and contributing to American society at the time, as well as many people of mixed races. Black Americans thus had the opportunity to play an important part in the struggle for independence from Britain, and by the mid-nineteenth century, northern blacks were also were working to emancipate their fellow African Americans in the South. Wood was especially impressed by the Hortons' extensive research, as revealed in their endnotes. Although the reviewer discovered a few factual errors, he asserted that "the book's greatest strength is the way in which it has drawn together and synthesized this growing body of work."

Hard Road to Freedom: The Story of African America, which Booklist critic Lillian Lewis described as "academic yet readable," is another survey of African-American history that covers everything from colonial America to the social movements of the twentieth century. The Hortons not only discuss slavery, emancipation, and civil rights, but also comment extensively on the important cultural impact blacks have had on America. As Joe W. Trotter observed in African American Review, "Hard Road to Freedom convincingly argues that the African American freedom struggle not only resulted in a broadening range of political freedom over time, but influenced the politics and culture of the nation." Noting that the book is well suited to college students because of its organization into well-defined chapters that fit well into a semester schedule, Peter Ling wrote in American Studies Today Online that Hard Road to Freedom "is an excellent place to start" for "students seeking a skilful introduction to that history."

With Slavery and the Making of America the Hortons once again speak on the role African Americans played in the creation of the United States. The book was written as a companion to a television program aired on PBS. This time the authors focus on the years from the colonial period through Reconstruction, while also discussing how the institution of slavery evolved and debunking some misconceptions about slavery, such as "that it was only a Southern institution," as Robert Flatley explained in a Library Journal review. Along the way, the Hortons draw on slave narratives and other historical documents to provide evidence from primary sources supporting their conclusions. Many reviewers noted that while the book is not a breezy read, containing as it does an immense amount of information, they nevertheless found it compelling and intriguing. For example, a Publishers Weekly critic called Slavery and the Making of America a "dense but highly readable volume." Harriet Klausner, writing in Best Reviews online, declared the Hortons' book "easy to read but difficult to put down because the book is so engrossing."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

African American Review, fall, 1999, Peter H. Wood, review of In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community, and Protest among Northern Free Blacks, 1700-1860, p. 523; summer-fall, 2003, Joe W. Trotter, review of Hard Road to Freedom: The Story of African America, p. 429.

Booklist, December 15, 2000, Lillian Lewis, review of Hard Road to Freedom, p. 782; October 1, 2004, Vanessa Bush, review of Slavery and the Making of America, p. 297.

Library Journal, November 1, 2000, Ann Burns and Emily Joy Jones, review of Hard Road to Freedom, p. 102; November 1, 2004, Robert Flatley, review of Slavery and the Making of America, p. 99.

Publishers Weekly, August 16, 2004, review of Slavery and the Making of America, p. 52.

School Library Journal, February, 2005, Claudia Moore, review of Slavery and the Making of America, p. 158.

ONLINE

American Studies Today Online, http://www.americansc.org.uk/ (February 13, 2003), Peter Ling, review of Hard Road to Freedom.

Best Reviews, http://thebestreviews.com/ (November 28, 2004), Harriet Klausner, review of Slavery and the Making of America.

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