Over the river, and through the wood.
A Radical American Life
Lydia Moland is reminding us that when present company in American public life comes up short, the ancestors of American democracy and spirit are lurking out there, in abundance and power to reset our judgment of who we are and what is possible, for a society, for each of us.
Lydia Moland, our sometime radio colleague, is now a philosophy professor at Colby College in Maine. For her the shock of recognition came at the chance sight of a nineteenth-century letter from a battling idealist, Lydia Maria Child, whom she’d never heard of. (It reminds me of the Pulitzer Prize biographer Stacy Schiff feeling much the same rapture at the same moment in 2016, rediscovering the sturdy giant of the American Revolution, Samuel Adams.) Lydia Moland’s big book became a story not just of a central figure in the abolition of slavery, but of her own passion as a contemporary scholar finding a model of moral courage for our own times. We spoke together at the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge on the publication of Lydia Maria Child: A Radical American Life.
Professor of Philosophy at Colby College.