Tags Matching:


  • Originally published 06/21/2018

    Charleston Apologizes for City’s Role in Slave Trade

    Charleston, the South Carolina port city where about 40 percent of enslaved Africans who were brought to North America landed after being taken from their homelands, has become the latest city to apologize for its role in the slave trade.

  • Originally published 04/24/2018

    No Reconciliation Without Truth

    Caleb Gayle

    A new museum and lynching memorial in Montgomery, Alabama, constitute a watershed moment in the way America remembers its racist past.

  • Originally published 04/20/2018

    Princeton to Name Two Campus Spaces in Honor of Slaves

    Five months after the release of sweeping research into its deep historical connections with slavery, Princeton University announced that it would name two prominent spaces in honor of enslaved people who lived or worked on its campus.

  • Originally published 02/13/2018

    Abraham Lincoln's Secret Visits to Slaves

    William R. Black

    In the mid-1930s, the Federal Writers’ Project interviewed thousands of former slaves, some of whom claimed the president came to their plantations disguised as a beggar or a peddler, telling them they’d soon be free.

  • Originally published 12/14/2017

    Slavery, the Plantation Myth, and Alternative Facts

    Tyler Parry

    As early as 1866, Edward A. Pollard’s book The Lost Cause: A New Southern History of the Confederates claimed to present “a severely just account of the War” to contend against the “false schools of public opinion.”

  • Originally published 12/04/2017

    Community Organizers Demand Reparations With Rally and Open Letter

    The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA) held a “Rally for Reparations” in front of Levi Hall, the University’s main administrative building, urging the University to make amends for what they view as “its founding ties to slavery,” according to Kamm Howard, national male co-chair of N’COBRA.

  • Originally published 11/15/2017

    Scholars of Slavery Force a Public Reckoning

    As America confronts its past, historians are asking new questions, pushing colleges, corporations, cities, museums, and governments to account for their ties to slavery.

  • Originally published 10/30/2017

    James Madison's Montpelier explores its history of slaves

    Montpelier was the Virginia home of James Madison, father of the Constitution and architect of the Bill of Rights. The plantation was also home to generations of slaves. Now, descendants have a chance to get in touch with their roots.

  • Originally published 09/29/2017

    In a Lost Essay, a Glimpse of an Elusive Poet and Slave

    George Moses Horton's “Individual Influence” is interesting not just for his lofty, abstract words about the primacy of divine influence, but for the context in which they were preserved: in a scrapbook of material relating to a prominent scholar who was forced out of the university after publicly opposing slavery.

  • Originally published 09/19/2017

    The Making and the Breaking of the Legend of Robert E. Lee

    Eric Foner

    Whatever the fate of his statues and memorials, so long as the legacy of slavery continues to bedevil American society, it seems unlikely that historians will return Lee, metaphorically speaking, to his pedestal.

  • Originally published 09/11/2017

    The South Doesn’t Own Slavery

    Tiya Miles

    Rooting out racial injustice only in former Confederate States ignores our country’s true history.

  • Originally published 08/11/2017

    Descendant of slaves rewrites the history of James Madison

    “We assume that president Madison and his family would not have achieved what they did if it were not for the enslaved individuals who lived there. The average American doesn’t understand that.” – Leontyne Peck

  • Originally published 07/31/2017

    Did Trump Really Mean What He Said?

    Pearl Duncan

    Here’s what he said: “Human trafficking is worse now that it has ever been in the history of the world.” Really?

  • Originally published 07/14/2017

    A Port Where a Million Slaves Were Trafficked Is Now a World Heritage Site

    The massive stone wharf loomed over Rio de Janeiro’s harbor, serving as the arrival point for nearly a million enslaved Africans during the first half of the 19th century. Today, the ruins of the Valongo Wharf are the only physical remains of a slave trade port left standing in the Americas.

  • Originally published 06/20/2017

    Harriet Tubman honored

    Harriet Tubman escaped slavery at 27 and repeatedly risked her life over the next decade, returning to Maryland about a dozen times and rescuing more than 70 family members and friends. Chip Reid reports on how her legacy is being honored.

  • Originally published 04/27/2017

    South Carolina Republican: scrap slave memorial if Confederate monument goes

    Sheri Few, who is running for South Carolina’s fifth congressional district, has said the removal of a Confederate monument in the state should be matched by the removal of a memorial to African American slaves. And if elected, she said she would focus on “fighting the destruction of every bit of Confederate memorabilia in our country.”

  • Originally published 04/24/2017

    Patterns Of Death In The South Still Show The Outlines Of Slavery

    There’s a map, made more than 150 years ago using 1860 census data, that pops up periodically on the internet on which, the counties of the Southern U.S. are shaded to reflect the percentage of inhabitants who were enslaved at the time. The shading closely matches visualizations of many modern-day data sets.

  • Originally published 04/03/2017

    After Slave Revelations, She Has a New Mission

    Onita Estes-Hicks learned that Jesuits who once ran Georgetown University sold some of her ancestors. She is now enrolled in a social justice program aimed at helping her make sense of it all.

  • Originally published 01/24/2017

    Columbia Unearths Its Ties to Slavery

    “People still associate slavery with the South, but it was also a Northern phenomenon,” Eric Foner, the Columbia historian who wrote the report, said in an interview.

  • Originally published 01/16/2017

    Who Really Freed the Slaves?

    Michael Hogan

    We should be teaching our kids the stories about blacks who won major battles in the Civil War.

  • Originally published 01/05/2017

    No! The Electoral College Was Not about Slavery!

    Gary L. Gregg II

    The opponents of the Electoral College, in attempting to undermine support for the institution, have painted it with an unfair half-truth that distorts the historical record as well as the constitutional principles undergirding the system itself.

  • Originally published 12/12/2016

    Scholars are now focusing on the forgotten slaves: Native Americans

    "Recent research has shown us that most enslaved persons in the Americas before 1700 were Indians; that Indians constituted a sizable proportion of the global slave population thereafter; and that Europeans enslaved Indians from Quebec to New Orleans, and from New England to the Carolinas."

  • Originally published 11/01/2016

    In the 1850s, the future of American slavery seemed bright

    Matthew Karp

    That star was extinguished not by the operation of the laws of history – much less the natural evolution of the market – but by the victory of a political movement, a bloody civil war, and a social revolution across the South.

  • Originally published 10/24/2016

    The Racial Politics of Nat Turner Tours

    The subject of an acclaimed new movie, the 1831 slave revolt led by Turner is also the focus of two tours, one black and one white, in a region still divided over Turner’s legacy.

  • Originally published 10/19/2016

    Should a nation apologise for the crimes of its past?

    Tom Bentley

    Merely recognising the violations of colonialism does not automatically lead to the conclusion that the states that once practised it should now apologise for their historical misdeeds.

  • Originally published 08/18/2016

    Snopes debunks slavery Internet meme

    A widely circulated list of historical "facts" about slavery dwells on the participation of non-whites as owners and traders of slaves in America.

  • Originally published 08/11/2016

    Rebuilding a Former Slave’s House in the Smithsonian

    Few Reconstruction-era residences from communities of former slaves are still standing today. The Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture will feature the reassembled structure of one.

  • Originally published 07/05/2016

    The Secret Black History of the Revolution

    Alan Gilbert

    As we know all too well, the Revolutionary War was not fought so that all men could be free, but its role in creating the seeds of abolition should not be forgotten.

  • Originally published 07/01/2016

    Slavery as free trade

    Blake Smith

    The 18th-century thinkers behind laissez-faire economics saw slavery as a great example of global free trade.

  • Originally published 05/12/2016

    Poll: Millennials More Open to Idea of Slavery Reparations

    A vast majority of white Americans say there should not be reparations for African-American descendants of slaves, but more than half of blacks say it's a good idea and Hispanics are almost evenly split, according to a new poll.

  • Originally published 05/02/2016

    Native Americans Were Kept As Slaves, Too

    Andrés Reséndez

    Native Americans had enslaved each other for millennia, but with the arrival of Europeans, practices of captivity originally embedded in specific cultural contexts became commodified, expanded in unexpected ways, and came to resemble the kinds of human trafficking that are recognizable to us today.

  • Originally published 02/25/2016

    Harvard replaces “house master”

    Following more than two months of deliberation, Harvard announced Wednesday that the university’s house masters will now be called faculty deans.

  • Originally published 01/18/2016

    America’s Other Original Sin

    Rebecca Onion

    Europeans didn’t just displace Native Americans—they enslaved them, and encouraged tribes to participate in the slave trade, on a scale historians are only beginning to fathom.

  • Originally published 12/31/2015

    Slaves or wage slaves

    Jerry Toner

    Incentives, rewards, bonuses and bonding experiences – Roman slaveowners were the first management theorists

  • Originally published 11/11/2015

    Student group opposes Harvard Law seal, citing slavery ties

    The seal, depicting three bundles of wheat, is meant to pay tribute to Royall, a wealthy merchant who donated his estate to create the first law professorship at Harvard University. But Royall made much of his wealth through the slave trade.

  • Originally published 10/21/2015

    How Texas Teaches History

    Ellen Bresler Rockmore

    Grammar matters, especially when textbooks tackle the subject of slavery.

  • Originally published 10/06/2015

    Sean Wilentz is wrong about the Constitution and slavery

    Patrick Rael

    According to Sean Wilentz’s opinion piece in the September 16 New York Times, the Constitution of 1787 did not make slavery a national institution. Wilentz badly misinterprets the antislavery sentiment evident at the constitutional convention of 1787.

  • Originally published 09/29/2015

    7 Slavery Myths Debunked

    Jamelle Bouie and Rebecca Onion

    The Irish were slaves too; slaves had it better than Northern factory workers; black people fought for the Confederacy; and other lies, half-truths, and irrelevancies.

  • Originally published 09/17/2015

    Was the Constitution of 1789 Anti-Slavery or Pro-Slavery?

    Ian J. Aebel

    The fact that the Constitution has evolved into a freedom protecting document does not change the fact that it was originally written in a manner that protected and prolonged the institution of slavery.

  • Originally published 09/15/2015

    Teaching Slavery to Reluctant Listeners

    Edward E. Baptist

    Whenever we dredge up the past, we find that the rusty old chains we rake from the bottom are connected to some people’s present-­day pains and others’ contemporary privilege.

  • Originally published 07/13/2015

    Daintiness, Blather, and the Confederate Flag

    Leslie Kitchen

    "I agree that it is a symbol of their heritage, but theirs is a heritage that has been saturated in racism from its very beginnings. They know this. They just don’t like to talk about the truth."

  • Originally published 06/25/2015

    U-Va. acknowledges its slave history

    Historians and others are finding new ways to acknowledge the university’s historic ties to slavery, to give a more complete picture of its foundation and early years, as the school approaches its bicentennial.

  • Originally published 06/23/2015

    Have you seen me? A memorial to slavery.

    Alexi Morrissey, artist

    Have You Seen Me? transforms the 1980s “kid on the milk carton” advocacy campaign into a memorial for those lost during the Slave Trade.

  • Originally published 06/23/2015

    Slavery’s Long Shadow

    Paul Krugman

    Despite changing attitudes on several fronts, race in America is an issue that won’t go away.

  • Originally published 05/19/2015

    Slate inaugurates a history of slavery

    America's defining institution, as told through the lives of nine enslaved people. Enroll in the college course you wish you'd taken, learning from acclaimed historians and writers, alongside Slate's Jamelle Bouie and Rebecca Onion.

  • Originally published 05/18/2015

    Slaves of history

    Jori Lewis

    If you descend from slaves in Senegal, your shame is an open secret and your life limited by stigma and disrespect

  • Originally published 05/01/2015

    The War of Northern Aggression

    James Oakes

    A leading Civil War historian challenges the new orthodoxy about how slavery ended in America.

  • Originally published 04/19/2015

    Ben Affleck Asked PBS to Not Reveal Slave-Owning Ancestor

    Ben Affleck requested that the PBS documentary series "Finding Your Roots" not reveal he had a slave-owning ancestor, according to emails published online by whistleblower site WikiLeaks, and the information never appeared on the program.

  • Originally published 04/14/2015

    A Confederate General and His Slave

    Kevin M. Levin

    One of the people a Confederate general had to say good-bye to at the end of the Civil War was his slave.

  • Originally published 04/04/2015

    How the Slave Trade Built America

    Maurie D. McInnis

    The slave trade is not merely a footnote or a side story in the history of American slavery, but was central to its modernization and continuation.

  • Originally published 03/17/2015

    Black and White?

    Carver Clark Gayton

    How race relations look through the eyes of the great-grandson of a slave who looked white.

  • Originally published 03/09/2015

    Thomas Jefferson and I

    J.F. Mouhot

    In the eyes of many, Thomas Jefferson embodies the contradictions of the young American republic.

  • Originally published 01/16/2015

    Who Regrets Slavery? Not Steve Scalise

    Martin Longman

    The third-ranking member of the House Republican leadership didn’t just attend a neo-Nazi conference in 2002, he also led opposition to a 1996 resolution in the state House that expressed mere “regret” for the institution of slavery.

  • Originally published 10/14/2014

    Why I Stand by What I Wrote About the Dutch

    Russell Shorto

    It goes without saying that the Dutch founders of New York were bigoted—just like all Europeans of the time. But they also laid the roots of tolerance.

  • Originally published 09/10/2014

    ‘The Economist’ Has a Slavery Problem

    Greg Grandin

    Multiple commentaries from the journal show a pattern of making sure white people aren’t taken for total villains when discussing slavery.

  • Originally published 05/09/2014

    Why Racists Always Make This Claim

    Roy E. Finkenbine

    For students of antebellum American slavery, the recent racist musings of Cliven Bundy have a familiar ring.

  • Originally published 04/02/2014

    How David Brion Davis came to study slavery

    Drew Gilpin Faust

    David Brion Davis, age eighty-six, has published the final volume in the trilogy he inaugurated with The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture (PSWC) and continued with The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770–1823 (PSAR) in 1975.

  • Originally published 04/02/2014

    Where David Brion Davis fits in the historiography of slavery

    Drew Gilpin Faust

    Since the middle of the twentieth century, our understanding of the American past has been revolutionized, in no small part because of our altered conceptions of the place of race in the nation’s history.

  • Originally published 12/16/2013

    Who Ain't a Slave?

    Greg Grandin

    Historical fact and the fiction of 'Benito Cereno.'

  • Originally published 11/06/2013

    The Passion of Solomon Northrup

    Eric Herschthal

    If the film is “true” to anything in the book, it should be true to Northup’s voice, not his facts; that voice is what makes “12 Years a Slave” so enduring.

  • Originally published 09/24/2013

    Memento Mori

    Lewis H. Lapham

    The death of American Exceptionalism -- and of me.

  • Originally published 08/12/2013

    Was Bass Reeves — a former slave turned deputy U.S. marshal — the real Lone Ranger?

    Art Burton listened intently as the old man on the other end of the phone cleared his throat and began telling him a story. Burton had only been researching the life of Bass Reeves for a short while but that afternoon what Reverend Haskell James Shoeboot, the 98-year-old part-Cherokee Indian, was about to tell him would persuade Burton he had stumbled upon one of the greatest stories never told.Born in 1838, Bass Reeves was a former slave-turned-lawman who served with the U.S. Marshals Service for 32 years at the turn of the 20th century in part of eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas known as Indian Territory. Though he was illiterate, Reeves became an expert tracker and detective – a man who, in Burton’s words, “walked in the valley of death every day for 35 years and brought in some of the worst outlaws from that period”....It reaffirmed what Burton had suspected: that (Armie Hammer’s caucasian portrayal aside in the movie The Lone Ranger) Bass Reeves — perhaps the first black commissioned deputy marshal west of the Mississippi — could well have been one of the greatest lawmen of the Wild West. But most people hadn’t heard of him. Over the next 20 years, Reeves would become an obsession for Burton, culminating in a very interesting hypothesis, which he puts forward in his book Black Gun, Silver Star....

  • Originally published 08/08/2013

    Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Towards a Radical New Theory of Anglo-American Slavery, and Vindication of Free Markets

    Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is International Business Editor of The Daily Telegraph. He has covered world politics and economics for 30 years, based in Europe, the US, and Latin America. He joined the Telegraph in 1991, serving as Washington correspondent and later Europe correspondent in Brussels.With luck it will help to vindicate the fathers of liberal government and the free market in the 17th and 18th Centuries, falsely accused until now of abetting - or promoting - the great crime of race-based African slavery.For academic orthodoxy holds that John Locke and the great Whig thinkers of the Glorious Revolution (1688) helped to design and foster the economic system of hereditary slavery that shaped Atlantic capitalism for a century and a half.From that it is but a step to dismiss the moral claims of liberalism as so much humbug, to write off all the talk of justice, natural rights, inviolable contracts and government by consent as the self-interested catechism of oppressors. As Samuel Johnson said acidly: "How is it we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?"

  • Originally published 08/03/2013

    Slave Revolt Rides on Broken Down Railroad

    Bruce Chadwick

    Tellin’ Man Midtown International Theater Festival Dorothy Strelsin Theater 312 W. 36th Street New York, N.Y. Each summer, the festival stages fifty or so plays of different varieties at the midtown theater complex.There were five well known slave revolts in America prior to the Civil War: in New York in 1712, along the Stono River, in South Carolina, in 1740, in Richmond, Virginia in 1800, the Denmark Vesey revolt in Charleston in 1822 and the Nat Turner revolt in Virginia in 1831. Paul Gray’s new play, Tellin’ Man seems to be based most closely on the rebellion led by Gabriel Prosser in Richmond, Virginia, in 1800. In Gray’s play, as in the Prosser revolt, other slaves secretly told the owners of the rebellion and the slave owners worked with law enforcement to quash it.The Tellin’ Man is the story of James, who betrayed his fellow slaves, and what happened to him, his family and his friends after the leaders of the revolt were arrested. It is a narrow focus play about slavery and the eternal hope of those in bondage that they could be free.

  • Originally published 08/03/2013

    New evidence contributes to unprecedented portrait of enslaved life at James Madison's Montpelier

    ORANGE, VA.- The Montpelier Foundation today announced findings from new archaeological excavations at the lifelong home of James Madison – Father of the Constitution, Architect of the Bill of Rights, and Fourth President of the United States. Discovered by teams of professional archaeology staff, students and visitors participating in special “Archaeology Expeditions,” two newly revealed subfloor pits provide an initial footprint for field slave quarters on the Montpelier landscape.“Montpelier is unique among archaeological sites in the United States with regards to our ability to recreate and visualize the experience of enslaved life,” said Matthew Reeves, Ph.D., Director of Archaeology and Landscape Restoration at James Madison’s Montpelier. “Because the fields have lain fallow since Madison’s time, the sites we are discovering are virtually undisturbed. We are meticulously documenting available evidence from the sites so we can begin to reconstruct the farm in a way that will authentically represent the complexity of life on the plantation.”...

  • Originally published 07/19/2013

    Stephen Kantrowitz, Sydney Nathans, and Brett Rushforth finalists for 2013 Douglass book prize

    The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition announced on Thursday the finalists for the $25,000 Frederick Douglass Book Prize, awarded to books dedicated to African American history.This year's finalists are Stephen Kantrowitz's More Than Freedom: Fighting for Black Citizenship in a White Republic, 1829-1889 (Penguin), Sydney Nathans's To Free a Family: The Journey of Mary Walker (Harvard) , and Brett Rushforth's Bonds of Alliance: Indigenous & Atlantic Slaveries in New France (University of North Carolina).Stephen Kantrowitz is professor of history and director of graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Nathans is professor emeritus of history at Duke, and Brett Rushforth is associate professor of history and director of graduate studies at William & Mary.The winner will be announced in the fall, and the award will be presented in New York City in February.

  • Originally published 07/03/2013

    Sean Coons: Frederick Douglass -- New Tea Party Hero?!

    Sean Coons is a writer and teacher in Los Angeles. Last week, Frederick Douglass — who escaped slavery at 20 years old and whose words would help bring an end to the institution — was honored with a statue in the U.S. Capitol’s Emancipation Hall in Washington, D.C. In the 1960s and ’70s, far left activists like Eldridge Cleaver of the Black Panther Party and Angela Davis of Communist Party USA incorporated Douglass’ call to agitation in their various causes’ platforms. Yet in a fascinating turnaround, the brilliant abolitionist, writer and orator is developing a new – and perhaps, unexpected – political identity: Tea Party hero.The recent rise in interest in Douglass by conservatives stems from their belief that his life epitomizes the self-reliance they champion, and his writings help provide justification for small government. It may be surprising to some that the fiery, black radical abolitionist of the 19th century, who once called Fourth of July celebrations “a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages,” could be inspiring to a Tea Party patriot. Or that social conservatives could find common cause with the man who bitterly attacked America’s Christianity as “a lie.” But that is exactly what is happening.

  • Originally published 07/02/2013

    The Terror of Being Black at Gettysburg

    Kevin M Levin

    For the unknown number of African Americans rounded up by the Confederate army, who called Gettysburg and the surrounding region home, Union victory mattered little. For them a new birth of freedom would have to wait just a little longer.

  • Originally published 06/27/2013

    Would We Have the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments If Lincoln Had Lived? Maybe Not.

    Alan J. Singer

    Credit: Wiki Commons.In recent weeks I have conducted a series of workshops with middle school and high school social studies and English teachers grappling with incorporating new Common Core literacy standards in their classrooms. Two things I have repeatedly stressed are the importance of understanding historical context before students can successfully interpret primary source documents and the role of the historian in providing a critical analysis of text and exploring multiple interpretations or perspectives on historical events.

  • Originally published 06/21/2013

    Slate: George W. Bush's ancestor a notorious slave trader

    BUNCE ISLAND, Sierra Leone—Twelve American presidents owned slaves, eight while serving in office, and at least 25 presidents count slave owners among their ancestors. But new historical evidence shows that a direct ancestor of George W. and George H.W. Bush was part of a much more appalling group: Thomas Walker was a notorious slave trader active in the late 18th century along the coast of West Africa.Walker, George H.W. Bush's great-great-great grandfather, was the captain of, master of, or investor in at least 11 slaving voyages to West Africa between 1784 and 1792....

  • Originally published 06/14/2013

    Chicago Maroon remembers Robert Fogel

    Economics professor Robert Fogel, who shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for applying economic analysis to history and taught for at the University for over 30 years, died Tuesday morning. He was 86.In an e-mail sent out over the listhost for economics majors on Wednesday, department chairman John List said that Fogel had died of pneumonia contracted after a mild heart attack.Fogel, along with Douglass North—with whom he shared the Nobel Prize—is considered a pioneer of “cliometrics”—the practice of using quantitative methods to analyze history. Called a “bomb thrower” by the New York Times after winning the Nobel Prize, Fogel’s economic approach to history often challenged conventional wisdom. His 1974 book Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery found that slavery was more economically efficient than free agriculture. Fogel’s analysis led him and co-author Stanley Engerman to conclude that because slaves were valuable economic assets, slaveowners were inclined to treat them well. While acknowledging that slaves were oppressed in ways that could not be represented through data, Fogel concluded that the demise of slavery was for political reasons, not economic ones....

  • Originally published 06/13/2013

    Robert W. Fogel, an innovative and Nobel Prize-winning economic historian, dies at 86

    Robert W. Fogel, a Nobel Prize-winning economic historian who used empirical data in innovative and iconoclastic ways, most notably to dispute longheld assumptions about why slavery collapsed as an institution in the United States, died June 11 at a rehabilitation facility in Oak Lawn, Ill. He was 86.The cause was pneumonia, said his daughter-in-law Suzanne Fogel. Dr. Fogel, a Chicago resident, spent much of his career at the University of Chicago and directed its Center for Population Economics.Dr. Fogel shared the 1993 Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences with Douglass North, then of Washington University in St. Louis. Both winners were on the 1960s vanguard of a field known as cliometrics, which merges economic theory with statistical analysis of hard numbers raked from the past; Clio is the muse of history in Greek mythology....

  • Originally published 06/11/2013

    Monument to Michelle Obama ancestor toppled in Georgia

    REX, Ga. –  Police in Georgia are investigating after a monument dedicated to one of first lady Michelle Obama's relatives was knocked over in suburban Atlanta.Clayton County Commissioner Sonna Singleton tells WSB-TV that a stone monument to Michelle Obama's great-great-great-grandmother, Melvinia Shields, was pushed over and will need to be inspected for cracks. The report was aired Monday.Officials say Shields was born into slavery in the mid-1800s and later settled in Rex, Ga., -- about 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta....

  • Originally published 06/10/2013

    NH governor signs bill granting freedom request made by slaves in 1779

    PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Fourteen slaves who petitioned the New Hampshire Legislature for their freedom during the Revolutionary War were granted posthumous emancipation Friday when the governor signed a largely symbolic bill that supporters hope will encourage future generations to pursue social justice.A group of 20 slaves who had fought in the war submitted a petition to the New Hampshire General Assembly on Nov. 12, 1779, while the war was still being fought. They argued that the freedom being sought by colonists should be extended to them, as well, and maintained that “public tyranny and slavery are alike detestable to minds conscious of the equal dignity of human nature.”...

  • Originally published 06/09/2013

    UPenn's Stephanie McCurry to Lead First MOOC on History of Slavery

    David Austin Walsh

    Credit: Wiki Commons/HNN staff.Stephanie McCurry, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and a distinguished scholar of the Civil War era, will be leading a new massive online open course this fall about the history of slavery in the United States. It will be based on her popular UPenn course, “The Rise and Fall of the Slave South,” a survey-level class.The course, which has yet to be officially titled, is the product of the partnership between UPenn and the popular MOOC provider Coursera.Professor McCurry says that she became interested in teaching a MOOC after spending three years as undergraduate chair at the university, during which she saw a decline in the number of enrollments in history classes.MOOCs offered an opportunity to shake up the field.“I became interested in pedagogical and curricular questions, and I'd already begun a series of initiatives within my department to move away from standard survey/AP-style courses.”

  • Originally published 05/28/2013

    Hearing set on Fredericksburg’s attempt to force the sale of proposed slavery museum site

    FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — Attorneys for L. Douglas Wilder are due in court to respond to the city of Fredericksburg’s plan to sell 38 acres where the former governor wants to build the National Slavery Museum.A hearing is set for Tuesday morning in Fredericksburg Circuit Court. It’s the latest development in Wilder’s quest to build a museum telling the nation’s history of slavery. Before he can do that, he must settle a large tax bill and get fundraising back on track....

  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    First lady lauds preservation of slave quarters

    WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama said Wednesday that stories of toil and sweat by slaves once held at a historic home within sight of the White House are an important part of U.S. history, including her own personal story, and are “as vital to our national memory as any other.”The first lady commented as American Express announced its donation of $1 million to the White House Historical Association to preserve Decatur House and pay for education programs for children. The nearly 200-year-old house is owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and operated by the association.Most of the money will be spent to preserve the building’s former slave quarters, where about 20 men and women “spent their days serving those who came and went from this house” and their nights “jammed together on the second floor of the slave quarters, all the while holding onto a quiet hope, a quiet prayer that they, too, and perhaps their children, would someday be free,” Mrs. Obama said....

  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    Va. GOP nominee: Three-fifths clause "anti-slavery"

    The Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in Virginia has called the Constitution’s original clause to count blacks as three-fifths of a person an “anti-slavery amendment.”In an April 28, 2011 statement while he was a Senate candidate, conservative minister and lawyer E.W. Jackson held up the three-fifths clause as an “anti-slavery” measure. The context of his statement was to attack President Obama after a pastor at a church service he attended referred to the three-fifths clause as a historical marker of racism.“Rev. [Charles Wallace] Smith must not have understood the 3/5ths clause was an anti-slavery amendment. Its purpose was to limit the voting power of slave holding states,” Jackson, an African-American, said in his statement....The clause was demanded by Southern proponents of slavery as a way of enhancing their congressional representation. They wanted slaves to be counted as full persons but settled on three-fifths. People of African descent would have had no real rights either way. The inclusion of the clause greatly enhanced the South’s political power and made it harder to abolish slavery. The clause was effectively eliminated after the Civil War by the Thirteenth Amendment....

  • Originally published 05/21/2013

    Monticello works to include slavery

    Monticello is one of the region's most popular landmarks, bringing in tourists from around the country to view the mansion and garden of Thomas Jefferson.But it's also a former plantation with deep racial history that's often been overlooked on tours and in public dialogue.Monticello opened in 1923, and for the first 50 or so years there was little, if any, mention of slavery."For a long time it wasn't a topic that was talked about," said Gary Sandling, the vice president of visitor programs and services for Monticello. "There would have been talk of servants, or field hands, or a skilled workforce," he said....

  • Originally published 05/15/2013

    Slave cabin in SC to be restored

    Curators at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture are working with restoration experts to dismantle an antebellum slave cabin on Point of Pines Plantation in Edisto Island, S.C. The cabin was donated to the museum last month by the Edisto Island Historical Society. The two-room cabin, which measures 16 by 20 feet, is believed to be in its original location and will become part of the “Slavery and Freedom” exhibition in Washington when the museum opens its doors in 2015.“Slavery is one of the last great unmentionables in public discourse,” said Lonnie Bunch, director of the museum. “The cabin allows us to humanize slavery, to personalize the life of the enslaved, and frame this story as one that has shaped us all. [Slavery] is not just an African American story.”The museum had been searching for a slave cabin to display for its permanent collection. The cabin will be displayed prominently in the museum, visible from three levels. Although the cabin will be reconstructed on-site, visitors will not be able to enter or touch the cabin because of its fragility....

  • Originally published 05/12/2013

    Thomas Jefferson's Nightmare

    Thomas Fleming

    Incendie de la Plaine du Cap. - Massacre des Blancs par les Noirs, 1833.This article is adapted from Thomas Fleming’s new book, A Disease In the Public Mind – A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War. Part two of a three-part series (read part one here).

  • Originally published 05/05/2013

    George Washington: The Forgotten Emancipator

    Thomas Fleming

    George Washington at Yorktown, by Auguste Couder. P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } This article is adapted from Thomas Fleming’s new book, A Disease In the Public Mind – A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War.

  • Originally published 04/23/2013

    Henry Louis Gates Jr.: Did African-American Slaves Rebel?

    Henry Louis Gates Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University. He is also the editor-in-chief of The Root. Follow him on Twitter. One of the most pernicious allegations made against the African-American people was that our slave ancestors were either exceptionally "docile" or "content and loyal," thus explaining their purported failure to rebel extensively. Some even compare enslaved Americans to their brothers and sisters in Brazil, Cuba, Suriname and Haiti, the last of whom defeated the most powerful army in the world, Napoleon's army, becoming the first slaves in history to successfully strike a blow for their own freedom.

  • Originally published 03/28/2013

    Escaping Slavery in Washington Territory

    Robin Lindley

    When we think of the cruel legacy of slavery and the bloody Civil War that ended this vile institution, it’s unlikely that images of the verdant, sparsely populated Washington Territory soon come to mind. But settlers brought the seeds of the war with them, and issues of slavery, race, secession, and civil rights divided communities and loyalties in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle public historian Dr. Lorraine McConaghy and co-author Judy Bentley uncover and detail a fascinating story of this era in Washington Territory in their new book Free Boy: A True Story of Slave and Master (University of Washington Press). Based on extensive research, they chronicle the odyssey of a young slave, Charles Mitchell, who escaped from slavery in Olympia to freedom in Victoria, Canada.

  • Originally published 03/25/2013

    Who Really Ran the Underground Railroad?

    One of the genuine pleasures of teaching African-American Studies today is the satisfaction of being able to restore to the historical record "lost" events and the individuals whose sacrifices and bravery created those events, never to be lost again. Few institutions from the black past have attracted more attention recently from teachers, students, museum curators and the tourism industry than the Underground Railroad, one of the most venerable and philanthropic innovations in our ancestors' long and dreadful history in human bondage. But in the zeal to tell the story of this great institution, legend and lore have sometimes overwhelmed historical facts. Separating fact from fiction -- always an essential part of telling it like it really was -- has required a great deal of effort from a number of scholars. Doing so only makes the sacrifices and heroism of our ancestors and their allies all the more noble, heroic and impressive....

  • Originally published 03/25/2013

    Slavery, Holocaust never OK as political fodder, but Cuccinelli’s history on faith was right

    RICHMOND, Va. — Ken Cuccinelli learned last week that it’s foolhardy to invoke slavery to make a political point.The presumptive Republican gubernatorial nominee set off a furor when Democratic Party video surfaced of him comparing the 19th century abolition struggle that triggered the nation’s deadliest war with today’s anti-abortion movement.In remarks made in June 2012 to a Family Foundation gathering of Christian conservatives in Williamsburg, Cuccinelli connected the dots between the role of churches in the early 19th century played in fomenting the movement to contain and eradicate slavery to that of evangelicals in today’s moral crusade against abortion....

  • Originally published 03/17/2013

    Tracy Thompson: The South Still Lies About the Civil War

    Tracy Thompson is the author of "The New Mind of the South." This excerpt comes from a longer excerpt of her book posted at Salon.In the course of our conversation, Yacine Kout mentioned something else—an incident that had happened the previous spring at Eastern Randolph High School just outside Asheboro. On Cinco de Mayo, the annual celebration of Mexico’s defeat of French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, a lot of Hispanic students brought Mexican flags to school. The next day, Kout said, white students brought Confederate flags to school as a message: This is our heritage.

  • Originally published 03/14/2013

    Slavery tough role at Colonial Williamsburg

    Before Erica Hubbard could portray an enslaved housekeeper, which she’ll do this weekend at Colonial Williamsburg, she had to learn some things about life in revolutionary times — including how slaves interacted with their masters circa 1776.These lessons are so painful that some African American actors simply can’t bear to learn them. Even as Colonial Williamsburg and other historic sites have tried to do justice to the story of slavery and attract more minority visitors, they’ve sometimes had difficulty persuading black actors to take jobs interpreting enslaved figures.It was easy to see why as Hubbard was being schooled on slavery in 18th-century Virginia one recent Sunday by two men from Colonial Williamsburg’s theatrical division....

  • Originally published 03/11/2013

    Henry Louis Gates Jr.: How Did Harriet Tubman Become a Legend?

    Henry Louis Gates Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University. He is also the editor-in-chief of The Root. Follow him on Twitter. In 1849, a young woman hurried along a path cutting through a marsh in Poplar Neck, Md., near the town of Preston. She was a slave, barely 5 feet tall. She was scarred from several beatings.  She alternated between walking and running, like thousands of other slaves had before her, desperately hoping to cross the Mason-Dixon Line to the get to the North, to freedom in Philadelphia. With a great deal of luck and skill, she made it. And what did she do once she was free? Unlike virtually any other person before her or after, this fugitive slave turned around and walked back into slavery, counterintuitively, in order to free other slaves. And for this, she would become a legend. 

  • Originally published 03/07/2013

    New Hampshire to consider honoring a 233-year-old petition from slaves seeking freedom

    CONCORD, N.H. — When 20 slaves petitioned New Hampshire two centuries ago seeking their freedom, lawmakers decided the time wasn’t right and delayed action.Now, 233 years later, legislators in one of the nation’s whitest states have decided the time is right to consider the request. A Senate committee on Wednesday unanimously recommended the full body posthumously emancipate the 14 petitioners who never were granted freedom.Woullard Lett, a member of the Manchester NAACP, said it’s never too late to right a wrong....

  • Originally published 03/05/2013

    Author and historian Walt Bachman uncovers the story of Minnesota slavery

    In the annals of emancipation, Minnesota is recognized as one of the “free states.”But when author and historian Walt Bachman began digging into his family history, he uncovered substantial evidence that as late as the 1850s, slaves were kept by officers at Fort Snelling and Fort Ridgely, in full knowledge of — and even subsidized by — the government.When these slaves were sold to civilians, they continued to live in Minnesota under the bonds of slavery, and their children were born into slavery.“Slavery in the North was not tied to agriculture or industry, as it was in the South. They typically worked as house servants,” said Bachman.“In Minnesota, there were never large gangs of farm workers, or auction blocks. There weren’t those trappings of the worst forms of slavery,” he said. “But there is ample evidence of brutality towards slaves in Minnesota, including a slave who was whipped to death by her Army officer master. Slavery, wherever it was practiced, was a pernicious institution, and Minnesota was no exception.”...

  • Originally published 02/27/2013

    Database lets Britons find slave-owning ancestors

    A new database launched Wednesday lets Britons curious about their family history uncover some potentially uncomfortable information - whether their ancestors owned slaves.Researchers at University College London spent three years compiling a searchable listing of thousands of people who received compensation for loss of their "possessions" when slave ownership was outlawed by Britain in 1833.About 46,000 people were paid a total of 20 million pounds - the equivalent of 40 percent of all annual government spending at the time - after the freeing of slaves in British colonies in the Caribbean, Mauritius and southern Africa."This is a huge bailout," said Keith McClelland, a research associate on the project. "Relatively speaking, it is bigger than the bailout of the bankers in recent years."Compensation for slave-owners was opposed by some abolitionists, who argued it was immoral, but it was approved as the political price of getting the 1833 abolition bill passed.

  • Originally published 02/25/2013

    Jonathan Zimmerman: What's Wrong With the Slavery Math Lesson?

    Jonathan Zimmerman is a professor of education and history at New York University. He is the author of "Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory.”In 1941, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People released a report condemning racist school textbooks in New York City. Music books routinely referred to blacks as "darkeys," while literature anthologies called them "coons" or "Sambos." Worst of all, American history textbooks depicted slavery as a genteel institution developed by benevolent white Southerners to "civilize" savage, ignorant Africans.All of these books were profoundly offensive to the city's African-American population, of course. But they were also full of lies, as NAACP secretary Walter White emphasized. "This study was made not on a basis of racial sensitiveness or pride," White wrote, describing the NAACP's textbook report, "but on the highest plane of historical accuracy and objectivity." Indeed, the report drew on research by pioneering black historian Carter G. Woodson to refute the textbooks' cheery portrait of life under slavery.

  • Originally published 02/14/2013

    How Do I Decode Slave Records?

    For many African Americans the paper trail back to your ancestral origins hits a wall once you reach the slavery era. During the hunt for information about my great-great grandmother, Jane Gates, who was born into slavery in 1819, we were able to find her in the 1870 census, the oldest census to list all African Americans by name. Before then, few counties listed slaves by name, so we shifted gears and searched the "slave schedules" for the 1860 and 1850 census information for slave owners named Gates. However, we weren't able to find anyone under that name who owned a slave that was around her age. This means that she was owned by someone with a surname other than Gates, and the only way to find her by using records would be to undertake a systematic search of the estate papers, wills and tax records, and other documents of every slave holder in Allegany County, Md....

  • Originally published 02/12/2013

    VA Historical Society's slave name database

    CHESTERFIELD, Va. — The Virginia Historical Society is going on the road to spread the word about its database of slave names.Historical society staff will hold the first of five presentations Monday in Chesterfield on the project, which helps scholars and family historians examine the state’s slave-holding past. Called “Unknown No Longer,” the database now includes more than 10,000 names and 1,500 digital images of documents....

  • Originally published 02/05/2013

    Emancipation Proclamation Sesquicentennial Events Offer a Window into Current Historiography Debate

    Vanessa Varin is Assistant Editor, Web and Social Media at the American Historical Association.January 1, 2013, marked the sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation. Although the general historical consensus is that slavery was at the root of the conflict, questions about the role of the proclamation in defining the Civil War and 19th century race relations continue to dominate the field. In the past few weeks, Washington, D.C., has hosted two events on the topic: A panel discussion at the National Archives (NARA), chaired by Annette Gordon-Reed and featuring James Oakes, Eric Foner, James McPherson, and Ed Ayers, and a more intimate lecture led by Foner at the Wilson Center and sponsored by the National History Center. The well-attended events were an opportunity to promote this history to the public, and a window into the current state of the debate over how we should understand the document and its centrality to the Civil War.  

  • Originally published 01/31/2013

    History-rich Georgia island wins second look on taxes

    DARIEN, Ga. — Residents of a tiny barrier island in Georgia on Tuesday won a temporary reprieve from property tax increases that they feared would drive them from their historic community.Taxes rose by as much as 1,000 percent last year on Sapelo Island, where the country’s largest population of Geechees lives. Sometimes called the Gullahs, the Creole-speaking descendants of African slaves have lived on the island and along the coast of the Southeast for more than two centuries.McIntosh County officials say their land has long been undervalued. But on Tuesday, the county’s Board of Equalization sided with the residents and ordered a reassessment of their property....

  • Originally published 01/23/2013

    "Django Unchained's" White Abolitionist Vision

    Stephen Kantrowitz

    Jamie Foxx as Django Freeman in Django Unchained.No one could possibly mistake Quentin Tarantino for William Lloyd Garrison, but the director's Django Unchained nevertheless belongs to the tradition of antebellum white abolitionism. The film powerfully evokes a South, and a people, entirely under the sway of slaveholders' sadistic passions. This intellectual lineage explains why its depiction of slavery is so potent, and so wrong.

  • Originally published 05/26/2012

    Who Invented Memorial Day?

    Jim Downs

    "Contrabands at Headquarters of General Lafayette," by Mathew Brady, 1862.As Americans enjoy the holiday weekend, does anyone know how Memorial Day originated?On May 1, 1865, freed slaves gathered in Charleston, South Carolina to commemorate the death of Union soldiers and the end of the American Civil War. Three years later, General John Logan issued a special order that May 30, 1868 be observed as Decoration Day, the first Memorial Day -- a day set aside "for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land."

  • Originally published 02/07/2011

    On Going Viral: Reflections on Why the South Really Seceded

    James W. Loewen

    1865 cartoon.On Sunday, January 9 [2011], the Washington Post published my op-ed article, "5 Myths about Why the South Seceded."  Even before it appeared in print, I knew it had touched a nerve. At its website, the Post dates the article at the stroke of midnight Saturday, but by 7:00pm that evening I had received at least thirty emails about it, a portent of the torrent to come. By Monday, the piece had received more than half a million hits, more than any other Post story. During the next week, almost four thousand other sites, from Forbes to The Times of India, linked to it or discussed it. Still other sites simply reprinted the article, which now appears at, for example, the Black Pride Network and the South Carolina Agricultural Trade News. 

  • Originally published 11/15/2010

    The Election of 1860 and Secession—to Preserve Slavery

    Douglas Egerton

    When news of Abraham Lincoln's election to the presidency reached South Carolina on Nov. 8, 1860, joyful Charlestonians took to the streets as if their candidate had won.  They erected liberty poles near the battery, and booming cannon saluted the Palmetto flag. "The tea has been thrown overboard," editorialized the Charleston Mercury. "The revolution of 1860 has been initiated."

  • Originally published 12/12/2008

    Ancestors Who Built the White House

    Pearl Duncan

    African-American ancestors were deprived as slaves, but African slaves, working alongside other Americans, built America. 

  • Originally published 02/14/2004

    The Racist History of the Democratic Party

    Wayne Perryman

    History reveals that every piece of racist legislation that was ever passed and every racist terrorist attack that was ever inflicted on African Americans, was initiated by the members of the Democratic Party.

  • Originally published 02/20/2018

    President Trump Versus Trump Voters

    Steve Hochstadt

    Will Trump’s so-called “base” ever wake up? Does he have to shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue before his supporters recognize who he is? Or was he right that even that won’t hurt him?

  • Originally published 08/16/2017

    The Right Words

    Mark Byrnes's Facing Backwards

    Trump was failing a basic obligation of leadership. He did not pay tribute to virtue.

  • Originally published 03/21/2017

    Democracy Demands Wisdom In Its Citizens

    Steve Hochstadt

    Conservative Republican politicians don’t believe that “democracy demands wisdom and vision in its citizens”. They attack the findings of geology, evolutionary biology, and climate science. They support the spread of fake news and promote alternative facts. They disparage the media in general. There is nothing new about the attacks on truth and knowledge by the Trump administration except its shamelessness.

  • Originally published 01/19/2017

    An Inaugural Prayer: Stretch Yourself as Person and President – to Stretch us too…

    Gil Troy

    Although I am no theologian, America desperately needs inaugural prayers. Here is the benediction I would offer, if invited to Donald Trump’s Swearing-in (and no, I wouldn’t boycott – Democrats should remember all the civics lectures they gave Trump about respecting the people’s choice when they expected Hillary Clinton to win, and now attend graciously).  

  • Originally published 12/23/2016

    "It Can't Happen Here, Can It?" Will Trump and Climate Deniers Purge American Science and Technology?

    Infinity, Limited

    Is the incoming Trump administration planning a purge of government climate science research and researchers?  If historical cases such as Soviet persecution and McCarthyism offer any precedent, such a purge will prove destructive to both careers and the national interests of the United States – and give other countries the opportunity to hire top-quality American researchers.  

  • Originally published 06/17/2016

    Technology and Politics: Neither good, nor bad, nor neutral

    Infinity, Limited

    The Economist aptly applied “Technology is neither good, nor bad, nor neutral,” Mel Kranzberg’s first law of the history of technology, to its recent discussion of technology and politics.  While the revolutionary power of digital data and social media are great, possibly greater are the opportunities for repressive states to observe dissidents, attack opponents, manipulate public perceptions, and even create alternate realities to stay in power.  Such efforts have a long history, but the digital politics offers much greater potential and peril.

  • Originally published 05/10/2016

    Ten Questions for Yale President Peter Salovey

    Jim Loewen

    Every year that it retains the name Calhoun College, Yale declares on its campus that John C. Calhoun was a hero worthy of the honor of having a building named for him.

  • Originally published 03/09/2016

    The German Jew Who Became an Ottoman Pasha

    Gil Troy

    Mehmed Emin Pasha was born a Jew in Germany, converted to Christianity and then Islam on his way to being named a ruler of an Ottoman province.

  • Originally published 11/22/2015

    The American Reaction to Refugees, 1848-1924

    Mark Byrnes's Facing Backwards

    The sad demand that only Christian refugees should be admitted to the U.S. reminds this historian of an awful American tradition.

  • Originally published 07/25/2015

    The Meaning of Donald Trump

    Steve Hochstadt

    Trump is just riding a wave. Soon he'll go down. What matters is what other Republicans do with their most vocal and extreme voters.

  • Originally published 07/23/2015

    Celebrating John C. Calhoun in Minnesota!

    Jim Loewen

    John C. Calhoun is remembered for what he did in the latter half of his adult life. In those years, he rationalized slavery, suppressed freedom of speech, and legitimized secession. Surely that legacy should persuade Minnesotans to rename Lake Calhoun.

  • Originally published 07/16/2015

    The Myth of Liberal Media

    Steve Hochstadt

    One of the most significant political myths is about the “liberal media”, the supposed tilt of American public media to the left. This claim by Republicans is nearly as old as I am. It was false when it began, and it still is, although less so.

  • Originally published 06/20/2014

    Abraham Lincoln and the Corwin Amendment

    Liberty and Power

    Most serious historical overviews of the Civil War contain at least a brief mention of the Corwin Amendment, the last-ditch compromise effort to protect slavery where it existed by enshrining it in the Constitution. They also do so tepidly and seldom acknowledge it as anything more than a historical footnote.