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

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