Edward Ball

  • Patrick Henry Fellow, 2022-23

Headshot of Edward Ball

Edward Ball


    Edward Ball is the author of six books of history and biography, which have told stories about enslavement, genetics, white and Black family history, gender transition, and other subjects. His first book, Slaves in the Family (1998)an account of ten African American families who were once enslaved on plantations owned by Edward Ball’s family in South Carolina, received the National Book Award for nonfiction.

    His most recent book, Life of a Klansman (2020), is a biography of a marauder in the Ku Klux Klan, Edward’s great-grandfather, a carpenter in New Orleans who fought to restore white supremacy to Louisiana. Edward Ball has taught at Yale University and the State University of New York, and has been awarded fellowships by the Radcliffe Institute, at Harvard, and New York Public Library’s Cullman Center.

    At the Starr Center, Edward is working on a book called Sold Down the River, which explores the experiences of four living Black families whose ancestors went through separation and transport in the internal slave trade from Maryland and Virginia to Mississippi and Louisiana, ca. 1800–60, when about one-tenth of the U.S. population was uprooted from the Chesapeake and resettled in the Mississippi Delta. The four families carry tales of family dispersal and forced migration that represent aspects of personal history shared by a majority of all African Americans living today.