The LINKBANK Lecture
Born in Virginia in 1832, Mary Lumpkin lived much of her young life in a slave jail in Richmond known as Lumpkin’s Jail, where she was forced to have the children of her enslaver, the slave jail owner Robert Lumpkin. She worked with resilience and determination to educate and free her children, who were born enslaved, sending her daughters to school in Massachusetts and buying a home for them in Philadelphia, where she and the children lived for the duration of the Civil War. At Robert Lumpkin’s death a year after the war’s end, he left Mary Lumpkin his property, including the jail, known by enslaved people as the Devil’s Half Acre. She rented it to a Baptist missionary who converted it into a school for freed Black men. It later became Virginia Union University, one of the oldest Historically Black Colleges and Universities in America, which still exists today. Mary Lumpkin’s story is one of many enslaved women whose stories have been all but erased from the American narrative.
Speaker: Kristen Green
Kristen Green is a longtime reporter and the author of The New York Times bestseller SOMETHING MUST BE DONE ABOUT PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY, which received the Library of Virginia Literary Award for Nonfiction. She has worked as a writer for two decades for newspapers including the Boston Globe, the San Diego Union-Tribune, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch. She holds a Bachelor in Arts degree from Mary Washington College and a Master’s in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. She lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in Richmond (The Devil’s Half Acre is her second book.).