NPR to feature book by Notre Dame professor

by Dennis Brown

Heidi Ardizzone, visiting assistant professor of American studies at the University of Notre Dame, will discuss her new book Thursday (May 17) on the National Public Radio program “Talk of the Nation” (1 p.m. EST locally on WVPE-FM, 88.1).p. "Love on Trial: An American Scandal in Black and White’ was coauthored by Earl Lewis, dean of graduate studies at the University of Michigan, where Ardizzone earned her master’s and doctoral degrees. Published this week by W.W. Norton&Company, the book tells the true story of first the love and then the trial between Alice Jones, a former nanny of mixed race, and Leonard Rhinelander, a young socialite from one of New York’s wealthiest and most prominent families.p. The couple met in 1921 and, after a three-year romance, married against the wishes of Leonard’s father. A month after the wedding, with questions arising in the news media about Alice’s background and race, Leonard left his wife and sued for annulment, charging she had defrauded him.p. The trial, before an all-male, all-white jury, hinged in large part on the question of whether ? as Alice claimed ?Leonard knew she was black when he married her. But it also included myriad questions concerning status, wealth, ancestry and morality. Generating as much media and public attention as any modern scandal, the case was chronicled in stories on the front page of The New York Times nearly every day for more than a month.p. Ardizzone and Lewis examine in detail the multiple racial, socioeconomic, sexual and ethical issues that arose in this national scandal that rocked jazz-age America.

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