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Special Event: Jonathan Michael Square with Elizabeth Way: A Stain on an All-American Brand: How Brooks Brothers Once Clothed Slaves

Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 6:00 PM | Members' Room | open to the public | free of charge | advance registration required

In this occasional series, experts on a topic of current resonance bring their knowledge to a conversational presentation for those who want to go deeper.

In the nineteenth century, Brooks Brothers - which celebrated its bicentennial last year - provided garments for coachmen, footmen, and chauffeurs in wealthy American households, many of them in the antebellum South. Thus, like many northern commercial institutions, the storied clothier benefited from the institution of slavery. This intriguing connection will be the focus of an illustrated talk by Jonathan Michael Square, a writer and historian specializing in fashion and visual culture in the African Diaspora. Following the presentation, Dr. Square will be in conversation with Elizabeth Way, assistant curator at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Jonathan M. Square is a writer and historian specializing in fashion and visual culture of the African Diaspora. He holds a PhD in history from New York University and degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and Cornell University. He is currently a faculty member in the Committee on Degrees in History and Literature at Harvard University. jonathansquare.com

Elizabeth Way is the Assistant Curator of Costume at The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She co-curated the exhibitions Global Fashion Capitals (2015) and Black Fashion Designers (2016), and curated Fabric In Fashion (2018). Way’s publications include several articles and chapters on the intersection of African-American culture and fashion, most recently the chapter “Strands of the Diaspora: Black Hair in the Americas 1800-1920” in A Cultural History of Hair in the Age of Empire (2018).

This event is co-sponsored with More Speech.