HarperCollins Speakers Bureau

Kristen Green

Journalist and Author of Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County: A Family, a Town, a Civil Rights Battle


  • History/Civil Rights: School Closures in Prince Edward County As Part of Civil Rights Battle for Education
  • Education: What Happens When Half a Community Loses its Education for Five Years?
  • African American Studies: Black Families In Prince Edward County At the Forefront, How the School Closures Impacted Black Families for Generations
  • Journalism & Writing: How I Reported the Story of My Hometown and How I Wrote the Book
  • Parenting: Issues of Identity, Multicultural Families, Raising Kids to Embrace a Diverse World
  • Shame and Guilt as a White Legacy: Acknowledging Our Past So We Can Move Forward



Kristen Green has worked for two decades as a journalist at newspapers including The San Diego Union-Tribune and the Boston Globe. In 2012, she was recognized by Media General for excellent local news writing at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. She has been awarded the Best of Gannett Outstanding Achievement in Writing, and her work has been recognized by the San Diego Society of Professional Journalists and the National Headliner Awards. She is a graduate of University of Mary Washington and has a Master in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School.

Her first book, Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County (Harper), was published in June 2015 to critical acclaim. It has been recommended by O Magazine, Essence, Southern Living, the New York Post, and the Boston Globe. It is a New York Times editors’ choice, a New York Times bestseller in Race and Civil Rights and a Southern Indie Best seller. The New York Times called it “essential reading” and the Washington Post termed it “a gift to a new generation of readers.” Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County has been selected as the common read at University of Mary Washington, Elon University, and Winthrop University.

Green has addressed audiences large and small. She is able to tailor her presentation to a variety of groups and can relate to topics for academic settings, Civil Rights Museums, Historical Societies, Women’s Clubs, and Service Groups.

Green grew up in Prince Edward County, the only community in the nation to close its schools for five years rather than desegregate. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s unanimous Brown v. Board of Education decision, the Virginia county refused to obey the law. Rather than desegregate, the community closed its public schools, locking and chaining the doors. White leaders quickly established a private academy, commandeering supplies from the shuttered public schools to use in their all-white classrooms. Meanwhile, black parents had few options: keep their kids at home, move across county lines, or send them to live with relatives in other states.

Green attended the segregation academy, which did not admit black students until 1986, when she was entering eighth grade. In her journey to uncover what happened in her hometown before she was born, Green tells the stories of families divided by the school closures and of 1,700 black children denied an education. As she peels back the layers of this haunting period in our nation’s past, her own family’s role—no less complex and painful—comes to light.

At once gripping, enlightening, and deeply moving, Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County is a dramatic chronicle that explores our troubled racial past and its reverberations today, and a timeless story about compassion, forgiveness, and the meaning of home.

Green lives in Richmond, Va. with her husband, Jason Hamilton, and their two young daughters, Amaya and Selma. She is a fellow with the Virginia Humanities and is writer-in-residence at the Library of Virginia, where she is working on her next book.

Praise for Kristen Green:

"Working with Kristen Green was delightful. From the moment she arrived, Kristen engaged our audience with grace and poise.  In her writing, Kristen covers hard truths about the shameful actions of some and highlights the achievements of many who said no to inequality.  With a frank recognition of the need to bring these injustices to light, as a speaker Kristen gave thoughtful testimony to her discoveries and was welcoming to all questions and comments.  Friendly and real, Kristen Green offered our audience a genuine presence upon arrival, during her talk, and throughout her book signing.  Kristen was terrific!"
--Anne Poarch, Reveille United Methodist Church Book Reviews (Richmond, VA)

"Kristen Green is an electrifying speaker. Her stories are riveting and she quickly transports her audience right back into the tense and exciting moments of her discoveries of egregious and heroic acts alike. Members of our audience were so moved that there were proclamations regarding the need for everyone in a community to take responsibility for creating positive social change."
--Sibley Johns, Executive Director, WriterHouse (Charlottesville, VA)

"During her visit to campus, Kristen Green not only put a warm, approachable face behind her memoir but again and again prompted students to mull over some of the most central issues of identity. In all of her interactions, whether with students, faculty, and the members of the community who flocked to the presentation, Green revealed herself a deft educator, one able to foster these considerations in an arena of respect, sensitivity, and intelligence. Our academic community is a better place because of her return to campus."
--Gary Richards, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of English, Linguistics, and Communication; University of Mary Washington

Praise for Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County:

“A gripping narrative… her writing is powerful and persuasive.”
--New York Times Book Review

“What makes Ms. Green’s book essential reading is that Prince Edward illuminates two instructive story lines that can become lost today amid the stirring commemorations of famous civil rights battles and the growing fury over the killing of unarmed African-Americans…. This is not just a work of history but also a story of how resistance to integration still shapes American life.”
--The New York Times

“Green’s excellent narration of the town’s history shines through.”
--Dallas Morning News

"Journalist Kristen Green grew up in Prince Edward County and attended the all-white private academy, which her grandfather helped found (and which finally acceded to federal government pressure and began accepting students of color in 1986). Now she has produced a well-researched and compassionate account of what happened and its impact on blacks and whites. Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County is an especially intimate portrait because Green interweaves public events with her family’s role, which was driven by the racism and gaping moral blind spots of her beloved grandparents…. Her thoughtful book is a gift to a new generation of readers, who need to know this story.”
--The Washington Post

“Green is a journalist by trade, and she builds Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County on reams of painstaking research, interviews, and historical documents…. What matters is the scant but vivid voice she gives to the black citizens Prince Edward County silenced for decades, and the light the book shines on how much—and how little—has changed.”
--Entertainment Weekly

"The decision to write the book took guts, because Green knew she would be publicly castigating not only her grandparents, but other relatives and friends, as well…. Her involvement in the shameful history of Prince Edward County provides the book with an emotional edge not easily forgotten."
--Minneapolis Star-Tribune