The Maroons of Prospect Bluff: The Free Black Fort of Nineteenth Century Florida

A special article marking the 201st anniversary of the destruction of the 'Negro Fort' at Prospect Bluff (1816)

This was the ‘Negro Fort’ at Prospect Bluff, one of the most formidable Maroon settlements in the whole of the New World that met its volatile end on 27 July, 1816. The story of these fugitives remains eschewed outside of academic circles, perhaps due to its uncomfortable reminder of the extent the pre-Civil War United States went to in upholding the racial status quo. The free blacks of Prospect Bluff were a prominent example of the unyielding spirit of resistance that runaway slaves who made it to Florida harboured, a tradition that long preceded the founding of the ‘Negro Fort’, and one that extended beyond the fort’s cataclysmic destruction. Continue reading

Book Review: Rethinking American Emancipation: Legacies of Slavery and the Quest for Black Freedom edited by William A. Link and James J. Broomall

It is axiomatic that the American Civil War was intimately connected with the demise of American slavery. Certainly, the circumstances and events of the war led to the Emancipation Proclamation and later the Thirteenth Amendment, ending chattel slavery in the United States. This relationship between the Civil War and emancipation has led to a general view of the war as a triumph for freedom and a redemptive rebirth of the American nation. Yet several decades of historical writing have sought to complicate this straightforward story of a dichotomous shift from slavery to freedom in 1865. Continue reading

Review: ‘Mothering Slaves: Motherhood, Childlessness, and the Care of Children from Slavery to Emancipation’

‘Mothering Slaves: Motherhood, Childlessness, and the Care of Children from Slavery to Emancipation’, University of Reading, 19-21 April 2016. Following events at the University of Newcastle and the Universidade de São Paulo, this third meeting of the Mothering Slaves Research Network sought to bring together experienced and new researchers, from a … Continue reading

Review: American Historical Association Annual Meeting

The AHA Presidential Address by Vicki L. Ruiz (University of California, Irvine) entitled, ‘Class Acts: Latina Feminist Traditions, 1900-1930’, challenged the dominant historiographical genealogy of Latina feminism, which typically focuses on seventeenth-century Mexican women poets and then jumps to the 1970s Chicana movement. Instead, Ruiz explored the work of two key early-twentieth-century Latina labour activists: Puerto Rican Luisa Capetillo and Guatemalan Luisa Moreno (born Rosa López Rodríguez). Continue reading

Chickasaw Gender Roles and Slavery During the Plan for Civilization

Throughout November 2015, U.S. Studies Online will be publishing a series of posts to mark Native American Heritage Month. In the first post, Jeff Washburn (University of Mississippi) discusses the evolution of gender roles within Chickasaw society during the early 1800s. The founding of the United States altered the relationship … Continue reading

Haiti’s “horrid civil war”: The 1791 Haitian Revolution and its Legacy in America

Following the success of the American colonies in gaining their independence from Britain, an endeavour in which he had played no small part, Thomas Jefferson hoped that people of other nations would follow his countrymen down the road to political revolution. But the black republic of Haiti and its citizens became a national nightmare at this foundational moment of American history, and in many ways have retained that identity for over two hundred years. Continue reading

“The Land Entire Saturated”: Commemorating the Civil War Dead at 150 years

  April 9th, 2015 marked the sesquicentennial commemoration of the surrender of the General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia to the Army of the Potomac under the command of General Grant. The surrender sounded the death knell for the shattered Confederacy. Appomattox was no cause for outpourings of joy; the … Continue reading

Deconstructing ‘Uncle Tom’ Abroad: The Case of an American President

The character of Uncle Tom experiences the benevolent paternalism and cruel exploitation of chattel slavery, and eventually dies at the hands of a malicious master. What does it mean for a twenty-first century presidential candidate, who became the 44th President of the United States, to be described in such terms? The rhetorical implications of this epithet demonstrate how media and popular culture shape ideas about history, race, and politics, even beyond the United States. Continue reading

Black History Month Roundup: U.S. Studies Online Special Series

Throughout October 2014 U.S. Studies Online has published a series of posts by U.K. and U.S.-based academics of all levels in honour of the UK’s Black History Month. This is a round-up of the series all in one place. Continue reading

“There wouldn’t be an America if it wasn’t for black people”: Programme Review of the University of Nottingham’s Black History Month Events

At the University of Nottingham, the month of October has been punctuated by a series of events, lectures and screenings relating to Black History Month. Postgraduate Hannah Jeffery has reviewed the series in the first ever Series Review for U.S. Studies Online. In this post she explores Black History Month not only as an opportunity to heighten awareness of black history and educate the public about the past, but Black History Month as a practice of institutions and professional organisations. Continue reading