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The On Being Project

Annette Gordon-Reed and Titus Kaphar

Are We Actually Citizens Here?

In life, in families, we shine a light on the past to live more abundantly now. In this conversation at the Citizen University annual conference, historian Annette Gordon-Reed and painter Titus Kaphar lead us in an exploration of that as a public adventure. She is the historian who introduced the world to Sally Hemings and the children she had with Thomas Jefferson, and so realigned a primary chapter of the American story with the deeper, more complicated truth. He collapses timelines on canvas, and created iconic images after Ferguson. Both are reckoning with history in order to repair the present.

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  • Annette Gordon-Reed

    Annette Gordon-Reed

    is the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School and a professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. Her books include the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family and “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination.

  • Titus Kaphar

    Titus Kaphar

    is an artist whose work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions from the Savannah College of Art and Design and the Seattle Art Museum to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His 2014 painting of Ferguson protesters was commissioned by TIME magazine. He has received numerous awards including the Artist as Activist Fellowship from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. He currently lives and works in New Haven, Connecticut.