Department Alumna Returns for Book Talk

Profile image of Isabella Morales standing against a brick wallDr. Isabela Morales began her career as a historian as an undergraduate in The University of Alabama’s History Department (BA, 2012).

During a visit to Hoole Special Collections Library as part of her Capstone Undergraduate Research class, she encountered a set of attorney papers from the nineteenth century. Those papers revealed that prominent Huntsville enslaver and cotton planter Samuel Townsend died in 1856, leaving behind a vast estate worth around $200,000 (equivalent to nearly $7 million today). Townsend left most of this fortune to his nine children and two nieces, all of them enslaved by Townsend at the time of his death.

Happy Dreams of Liberty Dust JacketDr. Morales, who received her PhD from Princeton University (2019), has now written a book about Townsend’s newly freed descendants and their attempts to forge family and freedom in the US South and West. Come listen to her speak about race, freedom, opportunity, and oppression as she discusses Happy Dreams of Liberty: An American Family in Slavery and Freedom.

Dr. Morales is Editor and Project Manager of the Princeton & Slavery Project, an investigation of Princeton’s historical ties with the institution of slavery and its ongoing legacies of institutional racism. She is also Digital Projects Manager at the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum in New Jersey.

Dr. Morales will hold a book talk on Thursday, September 29, at 5 PM, in 30 ten Hoor.