ARTICLE: Milbrandt on Livingstone and the Law (via The Legal History Blog)

Jay Milbrandt, “Livingstone and the Law: Africa’s Greatest Explorer and the Abolition of the Slave Trade.” SSRN eLibrary (August 20, 2012).

Abstract:

Few historical events have had such tragic, widespread, and lingering consequences as the exportation of slaves from Africa. While the abolition of western Africa’s transatlantic slave trade is well documented, the events and legal framework that led to the abolition of the slave trade in East Africa remain practically untold. There, an unlikely hero championed abolition: Missionary and explorer Dr. David Livingstone. His method: an ambitious publicity stunt to dramatically change international law.

This article will illustrate how explorer David Livingstone’s advocacy profoundly affected the legal landscape to restrict the slave trade in East Africa, and eventually dealt the deathblow abolishing it forever. Further, this article will illustrate how a lack of enforcement of the law and a policy of incremental restrictions on the slave trade, in lieu of outright abolition, was destructive to East and Central Africa, intensifying the slave trade with ramifications that can still be felt today. Finally, it will demonstrate, by modern analog, how strict enforcement of the rule of law is necessary in the developing world today.

H/T: Found at The Legal History Blog: Milbrandt on Livingstone the Explorer and the African Slave Trade

WEB: Levy on Failure of the Freedman’s Bank and the Gilded Age (LOC Webcast)

ACLS Mellon Fellow Jonathan Levy discusses the failure of the Freedman Savings and Trust Company at the Library of Congress:

In 1865, Congress chartered the non-profit “Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company,” a savings bank designed for a population of four million newly emancipated American slaves. By 1873, it had received a staggering $50,000,000 in deposits. But the banking house Jay Cooke & Co. was charged with investing the freedpeople’s savings, and when Jay Cooke & Co. failed during the panic of 1873, so did the Freedman’s Bank. Liberated from their former masters, the freedpeople had very suddenly come face to face with the frenzied finance of the Gilded Age.

View it here.

Paton on Enslaved Women and Slavery circa 1807 (and more)

Posted at History in Focus, a 14 volume journal published by the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London.  [On the main page, the link to the issue on slavery is broken.  Access it here.]

Excerpt below:

This year’s commemorations of the 200th anniversary of the passage of the British Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade have tended to focus on those exceptional individuals who led movements against the trade and against slavery itself. (1) For some, those individuals have been located primarily in Britain: people like Thomas Clarkson, William Wilberforce and – finally being given his due in recent years – Olaudah Equiano. Others have countered that it is more appropriate to examine the frequently revolutionary actions of enslaved people themselves, whose ’200 Years’ War’ against slavery, as Barbadian historian Hilary Beckles describes it, ultimately increased the economic and political costs of that system to the point where it could no longer be sustained. (2) On both sides, the emphasis has largely been on men, despite some efforts to include a token woman or two: a Hannah More here, a Nanny or a Mary Prince there. This concentration on men is almost inevitable when historical narrative becomes a search for heroic leaders, for the social conventions of most societies have tended to limit women’s capacity to become prominent leaders.

Yet this attention to the exceptional threatens to obscure the quotidian. What about the men and women who lived through slavery without taking up arms against it? Their experience was the norm for slave societies and, I would argue, is as important, as interesting and as full of political struggle as the lives of those who became rebels. This essay focuses on the everyday lives of enslaved people, especially enslaved women, in the British colonies in the Caribbean, and asks what difference the abolition of the slave trade meant to them. It focuses in particular on two issues: labour and reproduction. Drawing on secondary work as well as my own research in Jamaican archives, it shows the complex results of the end of importation of enslaved Africans. One outcome of the end of the slave trade was increased pressure on enslaved women, and thus increased conflict between them and those who sought to exploit them.

Read it in its entirety here.

The index of articles for the issue on slavery:

Britain, slavery and the trade in enslaved Africans

by Marika Sherwood

Enslaved women and slavery before and after 1807

by Diana Paton

British links and the West Indian proslavery argument

by Christer Petley

Reading the rebels: currents of slave resistance in the eighteenth-century British West Indies

by Natalie Zacek

Runaway slave communities in South Carolina

by Tim Lockley

Abolishing the slave trade

by James Walvin

The Big Disappointment. The economic consequences of the abolition of slavery in the Caribbean, 1833-1888

by Pieter C. Emmer

Political uses of memories of slavery in the Republic of Benin

Ana Lucia Araujo

How could we do without sugar and rum?

Graham Ullathorne

JAAH 93:4: Special Issue on the End of the Slave Trade

The Journal of African American History volume 93:4 is a special issue commemorating the bicentennial of the outlawing of the Atlantic slave trade by the United States.

First paragraph steal from the introduction by journal editor and Distinguished Professor of History at the University of California, Riverside V. P. Franklin:

“The year 2008 marks the bicentennial of the end of legal participation of United States citizens in the transatlantic slave trade. Under the terms of compromises that were made to gain southem slaveholders’ support for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1789, members of the Congress were banned from prohibiting the importation of enslaved Africans into the United States until 1808. In light of the successful slave revolt on Saint Domingue leading to the birth of Haiti, the second republic in the New World (1791-1804); Gabriel Prosser’s unsuccessful slave insurrection in Virginia in 1800; and the

decision by the members of Parliametit in 1807 to outlaw British participation in the transatlantic slave trade, the Congress voted to ban the importation of enslaved Africans into the United States as of 1 January 1808.”

Articles:

INTRODUCTION: ENDING THE TRANSATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE: BICENTENNIAL RESEARCH, REFLECTIONS, AND COMMEMORATIONS.
Franklin, V. P.

“I NEVER HAVE SUCH A SICKLY SHIP BEFORE”: DIET, DISEASE, AND MORTALITY IN 18TH-CENTURY ATLANTIC SLAVING VOYAGES
Mustakeem, Sowande’

RESISTANCE AND COLLABORATION: POLITICAL STRATEGIES WITHIN THE AFRO-CAROLINIAN SLAVE COMMUNITY, 1700-1750
Kyles, Perry L.

THE SLAVING BRIG HENRIQUETA AND HER EVIL SISTERS: A CASE STUDY IN THE 19th-CENTURY ILLEGAL SLAVE TRADE TO BRAZIL
Tinnie, Dinizulu Gene

REFLECTIONS ON THE BICENTENNIAL OF THE ABOLITION OF THE BRITISH SLAVE TRADE
Kerr-Ritchie, J. R.

CROSS-CULTURAL COMMEMORATION: FROM THE SLAVE TRADE ABOLITION BICENTENNIAL TO CARNIVAL MESSIAH
Franklin, V. P.

Available through EbscoHost (sub only)

(Click image for credit or go here)