Episode 219: Christina Proenza-Coles

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Christina Proenza-Coles' book, American Founders: How People of African Descent Established Freedom in the New World, is now available in paperback. Christina grew up in Miami (which she calls an "apartheid city"), the daughter of a Savannah mom and Cuban dad who fled not Castro but Batista. As a kid in Miami in the 80s, she saw Hispanic culture become dominant in her hometown, and it instilled in her a lifelong interest in America's racial history and makeup.

Christina went to Swathmore for undergrad as a Psych major. She then attended the progressive and interdisciplinary New School for Social Research in New York City, where she studied with Eli Zaretsky and completed a dissertation comparing white settlers in colonial Virginia and Cuba.

Christina's discussion of race and American history goes beyond the United States into places like Haiti, which has a unique and tragic history. Her book explores evergreen topics. But she and Colin talk about how has Trumpism has made historians reassess things they have taken for granted, such as the triumph of democracy over authoritarianism.

Regardless, historians try to stay productive and engaged amid the insanity. And toward the end of their discussion, Christina talks about a famous fan of hers. We won't say who, but we'll give you a hint: he's a big jazz fan.

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