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Rachel Louise Martin, PhD, is a historian and writer whose work has appeared in outlets like The Atlantic and Oxford American. The author of Hot, Hot Chicken, a cultural history of Nashville hot chicken, and A Most Tolerant Little Town, the forgotten story of the first school to attempt court-mandated desegregation in the wake of Brown v. Board, she is especially interested by the politics of memory and by the power of stories to illuminate why injustice persists in America today. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

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My Story

I have a Ph.D. in women’s and gender history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, but I didn’t go to graduate school to become a history professor. I went because I was a researcher and a storyteller. I believe in the power of hard, true stories to change the world, and I focus at the ways inequality has structured our families, communities, nation and world. 

I am especially interested by the politics of memory, or how we remember and how we choose to forget the past. Memories are not time machines into the past, and the stories we tell ourselves control our individual lives as well as our society. Unless we change how we talk about history, future generations will refight the same battles we are waging (again) today.

I am represented by Susan Canavan of Waxman Literary Agency.

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards ..."

 -Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

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