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The Other Madison, The Lost History of a President’s Black Family- Virtual Event

November 18, 2021

This program begins at 7 pm EST.

11/18/21 – If you have not already register to this event, please register directly onto  the GoToWebinar link:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Celebrate Maryland Emancipation (November 1, 1864) this month with a book talk with author Bettye Kearse discussing her family connection to U. S. President James Madison. 

For thousands of years, West African griots (men) and griottes (women) have recited the stories of their people. Without this tradition Bettye Kearse would not have known that she is a descendant of President James Madison and his slave, and half-sister, Coreen. In 1990, Bettye became the eighth-generation griotte for her family. Their credo—“Always remember—you’re a Madison. You come from African slaves and a president”—was intended to be a source of pride, but for her, it echoed with abuses of slavery, including rape and incest.  Confronting those abuses, Bettye embarked on a journey of discovery—of her ancestors, the nation, and herself. She learned that wherever African slaves walked, recorded history silenced their voices and buried their footsteps: beside a slave-holding fortress in Ghana; below a federal building in New York City; and under a brick walkway at James Madison’s Virginia plantation. When Bettye tried to confirm the information her ancestors had passed down, she encountered obstacles at every turn. Part personal quest, part testimony, part historical correction, The Other Madisons is the saga of an extraordinary American family told by a griotte in search of the whole story

The short film, The Other Madison will be screened before the book talk moderated by ICE Director, Dr. Izetta Autumn Mobley.

Bettye Kearse is a writer and retired pediatrician. Her writing has appeared in the Boston Herald, TIME Magazine, River Teeth, Zora, and the anthology Black Lives Have Always Mattered, among other places. The Other Madisons received the International Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Book Award for Nonfiction, Autobiography. Her research for The Other Madisons was covered in the Washington Post. She lives in New Mexico.

To register, CLICK HERE. Free event.

In conjunction with Bodies of Information: Understanding Slavery through the Stearns Collection.


November 18, 2021