Brunias? Buttons ft. Caribbean Free and Slave Life @ Cooper-Hewitt

Originally posted on Diaspora Hypertext, the Blog:

Collected in a 2013 post by Sarah D. Coffin, these buttons were posted on the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt blog some time ago. But material cultures of slavery never get old.

Some of her conclusions have been challenged in the comments (the author appears to confuse 18th century Dominica with Saint-Domingue), but the images appear to be renderings in the style of Bruinas or Brunias originals of figures devariascolores (black, gradations of mixed-race, and white) in 18th century dress.

The figure in the blue dress on this button, for example…

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RESOURCE: Slave and Free People of Color Baptismal Records in the Archives – Archdiocese of New Orleans

Slave and Free People of Color Baptismal Records in the Archives – Archdiocese of New Orleans Office of the Archives

The acts in these registers were recorded in Spanish. The Spanish phonetic spelling of a surname often varied significantly from the French spelling. In addition, first names were Hispanicized: Etienne became Estevan; Jacques became Santiago; Elizabeth became Isabella, and Hélène became Elena. Surname spelling variations multiply under the Spanish as well. Undoubtedly, some of these similar names refer to the same family. In many entries, priests, witnesses and sponsors wrote in a hand that formed different letters in exactly the same way. U/N, U/V, C/B, S/Z, A/O, and E/C are the most common instances where the letters are simply indistinguishable. This uncertainty must be kept in mind, particularly in regard to unfamiliar surnames. The Spanish priests also introduced several new variations that were not evident during the French period. “B” and “V” as well as “S” and “C” are often used interchangeably. “H” appears and disappears before such vowels as “A” and “E” while “X”, “G”, and “J” are all pronounced “H” and thus are sometimes used interchangeably in entries. “I” is often replaced by “Y” in Spanish entries. The number next to the name in the index does not refer to the page number but to the entry number….

 

Reblogged from Diaspora Hypertext, the Blog.

DIGITAL/RESOURCES: Readex Highlights Five African-American History Collections

via Readex:

In 1925 Carter G. Woodson and his Association for the Study of Negro Life and History created Negro History Week. A half century later, during the U.S. bicentennial, this formal period for recognizing African American contributions to our national history was expanded to a month. At that time President Gerald Ford asked Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” During this 2014 celebration of African American History month, Readex is pleased to highlight these five new and recent resources:

The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society

Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922: From the Library Company of Philadelphia

African American Periodicals, 1825-1995

African American Newspapers, 1827-1998

Caribbean Newspapers, Series 1, 1718-1876: From the American Antiquarian Society

Read full descriptions here: Celebrating African American History Month: Five Acclaimed Research and Teaching Collections for African American Studies | Readex

Slavery in Video Games: Evan Narcisse on Assassin’s Creed III and IV (Kotaku)

Screenshot from Assassin’s Creed IV: Freedom’s Cry

Kotaku reporter Evan Narcisse reviews early New Orleans/Gulf Coast and Caribbean history and the Haitian Revolution as portrayed in  Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation and Assassin’s Creed IV: Freedom Cry.

From the Liberation review:

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DATABASE: Maryland State Archives Launches Name Database

The Maryland State Archives Legacy of Slavery in Maryland: An Archives of Maryland Electronic Publication has launched “Beneath the Underground.”

From the website:

The Beneath the Underground database features entries of over 300,000 individuals including, white and black, slave owners, enslaved and free individuals from primarily the years of 1830 through 1880 to review. Listed below are the record series currently searchable on-line.

About the Legacies of Slavery in Maryland site:

This program seeks to preserve and promote the vast universe of experiences that have shaped the lives of Maryland’s African American population. From the day that Mathias de Sousa and Francisco landed in St. Mary’s county aboard the Ark and the Dove in 1634, Black Marylanders have made significant contributions to both the state and nation in the political, economic, agricultural, legal, and domestic arenas. Despite what often seemed like insurmountable odds, Marylanders of Color have adapted, evolved, and prevailed. The Maryland State Archives’ Study of the Legacy of Slavery Staff invites researchers to explore all of these elements and more within its numerous source documents, exhibits and interactive online presentations.

(H/T: Krystal Appiah (@kaappiah) on Twitter)

Yale Acquires 1850s Prison Memoir of African-American Man

via NYTimes:

“…The 304-page memoir, titled “The Life and Adventures of a Haunted Convict, or the Inmate of a Gloomy Prison,” describes the experiences of the author, Austin Reed, from the 1830s to the 1850s in a prison in upstate New York.

Caleb Smith, a professor of English at Yale who has written extensively about imprisonment, said he believed the manuscript to be authentic. Reed’s account was corroborated through newspaper articles, court records and prison files, with help from Christine McKay, an archivist and researcher who also works for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Manhattan…

…Reed is believed to have been born a free man near Rochester. As a young man, according to Yale’s research, he was sent to the New York House of Refuge, a juvenile reform school in Manhattan, where he learned to read and write. By the 1830s, a string of thefts resulted in his incarceration in a state prison in Auburn, now known as the Auburn Correctional Facility, which was built in 1816.

The manuscript, written with the dramatic flair of a natural storyteller but in unpolished English, with grammatical and spelling errors, traces his life from childhood to his years at Auburn. It is written under the name Rob Reed, although it is unclear why he used that name, according to Yale…”

Read the rest.

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

Letters to Mandela

via BBC:

“South Africa’s first black president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95.

Mr Mandela led South Africa’s transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s, after 27 years in prison for his political activities…”

1980CoverMandela

Rest in Power. Links and resources below:

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Timbs on African Studies in the Digital Age | CHI MSU

Originally posted on Diaspora Hypertext, the Blog:

Liz Timbs reflects on the number of digital humanities panels at the African Studies Association Annual meeting:

“Unfortunately, when I say that numerous scholars commented on this need, numerous refers to a few handfuls of scholars that I encountered.  Compared to other scholarly meetings, ASA is lagging behind in their number of panels dedicated to the subject.  Harvard College postdoctoral fellow Carla D. Martin noted that at last year’s MLA meeting, there were sixty-six panels on digital humanities.  When I searched for panels incorporating digital technologies at last week’s American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting in Chicago, over 100 results came back.  At ASA, there were six. Yes, that’s right: just six panels.  It is critical that the Association and the academic community as a whole begins to more substantially engage with the prospect of digital humanities….”

Read the rest: African Studies in the Digital Age | Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative

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