January 27, 2011

Book|Report podcast

Tracing the enigmatic life of 'Miss Kitty'

Author Mark Auslander at the Kitty Memorial Tablet, Oxford Cemetery, Oxford, GA (Photo courtesy

Teaching at Oxford College in the 1990s, anthropologist Mark Auslander uncovered competing myths about Catherine “Miss Kitty” Boyd, a 19th-century enslaved woman owned by an early Emory leader in Oxford, Ga., the site of Emory’s original campus.

Exploring divergent retellings of the story of Miss Kitty by the town's different generations and racial communities, his scholarship led him to trace and locate her living descendants. The journey is chronicled in Auslander’s forthcoming book, “The Accidental Slaveowner: Revisiting a Myth of the American South” (University of Georgia Press, 2011).

Auslander, who is now with Brandeis University, helped organize Emory’s upcoming conference, "Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies," including a day of commemoration in Oxford where participants and community members will gather to reflect on the local legacies of slavery and its aftermath.

Listen to Mark Auslander talk about the origins of his research into Catherine "Miss Kitty" Boyd.

3 min. 51 sec. Download file

Listen to Mark Auslander read from his book's prologue about the different myths of Miss Kitty.  

7 min. 16 sec. Download file

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