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Carla L. Peterson is an English professor and affiliate faculty member of the American Studies, African-American Studies and Women's Studies departments at the University of Maryland at College Park. Her works include "African-American Women Orators in the Antebellum North," "Antebellum Slave Narrators: Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs" and "Family, Memory, History: Reconstituting Black Elite Culture in Nineteenth-Century New York." Her new book, "Black Gotham: A History of African Americans in Nineteenth-Century New York City" (Yale University Press), is Peterson's riveting account of her quest to reconstruct her 19th-century ancestors' lives.