Book Review: The Lives of Frederick Douglass by Robert S. Levine

The State of the Discipline Series: Part II

The Lives of Frederick Douglass is a fascinating collage of images that recreate various facets of the life of Frederick Douglass. Robert Levine demonstrates insight in delving into the complexity of racialised identities and the changing contours of self-definition in a collection that spans the most popular of Douglass’s writings, The Narrative of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself (1845), as well as his lesser known My Bondage and My Freedom (1855) and The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881), along with letters, articles, and speeches. Continue reading

Review: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha 2018: Faulkner and Slavery

University of Mississippi

Review: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha 2018: Faulkner and Slavery, University of Mississippi, 22-26 July 2018 “What did slavery mean in the life, ancestry, environment, imagination, and career of William Faulkner?” This was the guiding question posed by the Call for Papers of this year’s annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference, centered on the … Continue reading

‘Unbelievable Originality’: Lining Tracks and Performativity in Zora Neale Hurston’s Folk Concerts

It is nearly a century since Zora Neale Hurston wrote Barracoon, an ethnography of Cudjo Lewis, the Alabama man believed to be the last living African enslaved in the United States. On May 8 Lewis’ story became widely available to the public for the first time. To mark this historic occasion, and to commemorate the life and works of Zora Neale Hurston – a central figure of the Harlem Renaissance, African-American folklorist and ethnographer, and one of the most significant women writers of the twentieth century – USSO has commissioned a series of articles on any aspect of Hurston’s life, her art, her anthropology. This article is the first in the series. Continue reading

Review: Bluecoat 300: Charity, Philanthropy and the Black Atlantic

International Slavery Museum

2017 marked two anniversaries in Liverpool: the tercentenary of the Bluecoat building, a contemporary arts centre which was originally constructed as a charity school in 1717, and the tenth anniversary of the International Slavery Museum. Like many institutions founded in eighteenth-century Liverpool, Bluecoat was supported by funds derived from maritime trade; in particular, the transatlantic slave trade. As part of Bluecoat’s year-long anniversary programme, special attention has been paid to exploring the building’s connections to slavery. Continue reading

Zora Neale Hurston: Life and Works

A series to commemorate the historic publication of 'Barracoon: the Story of the Last Black Cargo' (Harper Collins, 2018)

“Of all the millions transported from Africa to the Americas, only one man is left. The only man on earth who has in his heart the memory of his African home; the horrors of a slave raid; the barracoon; the Lenten tones of slavery; and who has 67 years of freedom in a foreign land behind him.” Continue reading

Historians Against Slavery

International Slavery Museum, Liverpool

An over-arching theme of the conference was a trans-disciplinary approach, clearly seen in the construction of the panels. From historians to lawyers to activists, it was clear that organisers of the conference wanted to encourage research collaboration in the effort to end modern slavery. Unlike an inter-disciplinary method, a trans-disciplinary approach goes across different areas of research, not just within, to fully utilise the expertise of each field. 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