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Discover the tale of America’s largest family: The Hairstons

During the month of February, Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) is observing Black History Month with guest speaker Henry Wiencek, the author of The Hairstons: A Family in Black and White. Wiencek is discussing his book on Wednesday, February 22.  The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held in PHCC’s Frith Exhibit Hall at 1 p.m.

The Hairstons recounts the story of America’s largest family, which has several thousand black and white members. For the past seven years, Wiencek traveled Virginia, North Carolina, and Mississippi collecting hundreds of tales from Hairston relatives. Through decedents’ anecdotes, Wiencek pieced together a family history that reveals the lives of both the plantation owners and their slaves. In this award-winning biography, readers follow both the black and white kin through historical events like the emancipation and the civil rights movement. 

Wiencek will hold a book signing at the end of his presentation, and his book will be available for purchase following the talk.  Wiencek’s presentation is part of PHCC’s visiting author symposium. The symposium is a yearlong program that will aid in the development of PHCC’s new honors college humanities curriculum. The next speaker in the symposium will be the New York Time’s bestseller Martin Clark who presents on March 31.