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Hall, Gwendolyn Midlo (1929–) - Slave Societies in Colonial American History

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Gwendolyn Midlo Hall was born on June 27, 1929, in New Orleans, Louisiana, of Russian- and Polish-Jewish ancestry. Her father was a tailor, then an attorney; his role as a civil rights and labor lawyer during the 1930s and 1940s had a tremendous influence on her life. She attended public schools in New Orleans as a child, then the Newman High School, a private school. She attended Newcombe College of Tulane University, completing majors in both European and American history. Hall earned her bachelor’s degree, however, from the University of the Americas in Mexico City, in 1962. She also studied music theory and classical piano privately in Paris from 1949 to 1953.

After completing her bachelor’s degree, Hall stayed on at the University of the Americas, earning a master’s degree in Latin American history in 1963. She completed her Ph.D., also in Latin American history, at the University of Michigan in 1970. She then accepted a position as assistant professor of history at Rutgers University. In 1973 she became associate professor, and in 1993 she was promoted to professor of history. She has also served Rutgers as acting chair of Puerto Rican and Hispanic Caribbean studies, acting chair of Puerto Rican studies, and acting chair of the department of history.

Hall was active in the civil rights movement in New Orleans during the 1940s and later did political work with her husband during the 1950s and 1960s. She also initiated medical treatment for heroin addicts in Detroit and Ann Arbor. Hall worked as a temporary legal secretary during the McCarthy era to avoid being fired due to FBI harassment.

Gwendolyn Midlo Hall is the author of three books, two books in preparation, and fifteen articles. Her 1992 publication, Africans in Colonial Louisiana: The Development of Afro-Creole Culture in the Eighteenth Century , won several national awards, including the Elliott Rudwick Award of the Organization of American Historians, the John Hope Franklin Prize of the American Studies Association, and the Willie Lee Rose Prize of the Southern Association of Women Historians. It is a “pathbreaking” work, according to reviewer Sylvia Frey, who argues that “no other historian has done such prodigious research in the voluminous records of French and Spanish colonial Louisiana.”

Hall has received many awards and fellowships, including those from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Spanish Ministry of Culture, and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. She has been granted a merit award from the City of New Orleans and a Louisiana Humanist of the Year Award. She has also been active in creating databases and archives for future research on slavery in the early Gulf South, which includes Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

Gwendolyn Midlo Hall was married to Harry Haywood Hall, a radical black theoretician and the son of slaves, who is now deceased. She raised their three children alone. One child is now an emergency room physician, the second is a lawyer, and the third has suffered from chronic paranoid schizophrenia for the past thirty years. Hall also has one granddaughter. Her interests include classical music, piano, nature, and dogs.

Hall, Irma P. (1937–) [next] [back] Hall, Edward (c. 1498–1547) - BIOGRAPHY, CRITICAL RECEPTION

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almost 8 years ago

Before my computer crashed and burned, I could go to your web site and search by owner name or slave name. I always used the site I had saved in 'Favorites'. Now, I can't seem to locate the site.

It has been so helpful to me because I try to help people with slave ancestors research their heritage. Plese send me the web address. Peggy@cfaith.com

Thanks so much.