Forrest Carter claimed The Education of Little Tree was a memoir of his childhood as a part Cherokee orphan. Some were shocked to later learn that Forrest Carter was, in fact, Asa Carter, a fiery speechwriter for former Alabama governor George Wallace. English professor Laura Browder (VCU), author of Slippery Characters: Ethnic Impersonators and American Identities, says Carter is but one of a long line of American authors who’ve left behind unwanted pasts to create new identities.

Also featured: The carpetbagger was a Yankee scoundrel to white Southerners and a redeemer to former slaves. Historian Ted Tunnell (Virginia Commonwealth University), author of Edge of the Sword: The Ordeal of Carpetbagger Marshall H. Twitchell in the Civil War and Reconstruction, discusses the life of one carpetbagger whose venture south lost him nearly everything.

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