ARTICLES: Borucki and Lokken in May 2013 HAHR

Articles of interest in the May 2013 Hispanic American Historical Review.

Alex Borucki, “Shipmate Networks and Black Identities in the Marriage Files of Montevideo, 1768–1803.” Hispanic American Historical Review 93, no. 2 (May 1, 2013): 205–238.

Abstract:

The experience of enslaved Africans in the Atlantic crossing redefined the meanings of the nomenclature emerging from the slave trade. Under violent conditions, captives developed networks with shipmates on board slave vessels. These ties survived for decades if shipmates stayed together in the same region, as they did in Montevideo. Shipmate ties represented a living connection for Africans not only with their experience in the Atlantic crossing but also with their homelands. Shipmates provided support to their fellows when they needed trusted associates, as the marriage files of Montevideo clearly demonstrate. Enslaved Africans commonly asked fellow shipmates to testify about their past when marrying into the Catholic Church. Marriage files contain data on the routes Africans took across the Atlantic and the Americas. They indicate the origins of the groom, bride, and witnesses, their shared itineraries, and how these itineraries changed over time. Thus they reveal patterns of geographical mobility and networks created by common experiences. Marriage files can be easily quantified, which allows us to track historical trends. At the same time, each file offers a unique story. A close reading of these stories contextualizes the experiences of slaves in the Catholic Americas and underscores common patterns in ways that lie beyond quantification.

Paul Lokken, “From the ‘Kingdoms of Angola’ to Santiago de Guatemala: The Portuguese Asientos and Spanish Central America, 1595–1640.” Hispanic American Historical Review 93, no. 2 (May 1, 2013): 171–203.
Abstract:

The evidence presented in this article establishes the era of the major Portuguese asientos (1595–1640) as a key moment in the history of African migration to Spanish Central America. Between 1607 and 1628 alone, Portuguese slave traders made at least 15 voyages from Angola to the Caribbean coast of Central America, landing in most cases “by accident” at the Honduran port of Trujillo while allegedly en route to Veracruz. Many of the West Central Africans carried on these voyages were subsequently marched inland by the same Portuguese merchants to be sold in Santiago de Guatemala, capital of the Audiencia of Guatemala. Their final destinations were often rural properties located in or near the Pacific lowlands of modern-day Guatemala and El Salvador, where the largest sugar and indigo plantations counted dozens of Angolans among their enslaved workers. A decided majority of these involuntary migrants were young men, most no doubt having departed from Luanda following misfortune in the wars that, with a good deal of Portuguese encouragement, wracked their homelands after 1575. Their migration experiences testify to a significant shift in the point of origin of Africans brought to Central America away from Senegambia and neighboring regions of West Africa, birthplace of the majority of Africans transported to Central America prior to 1595. The later-arriving and larger West Central African workforce played a more important role than heretofore understood in satisfying the demands for labor that arose in the early seventeenth century as commercial agriculture briefly boomed amid persistent indigenous population decline.

ARTICLES: Kopelson and Yingling on Archive and Press in Caribbean, U.S.

Articles of interest in Early American Studies (volume 11:2):

Heather Miyano Kopelson, “‘One Indian and a Negroe, the First Thes Ilands Ever Had’: Imagining the Archive in Early Bermuda.” Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 11, no. 2 (2013): 272–313.
Abstract:

The early generations of enslaved and bonded Africans and Indians in Bermuda were essential to the functioning of the colony. But beyond their contributions to the colonial enterprise, they continued to practice the skills that connected them to spiritual entities whose power enabled them not only to comprehend their environment but also to affect it directly. In their initial approach to Bermudian shores, in fishing, processing manioc, thatching and weaving with parts of the palmetto tree, as well as making cords with cotton and palmetto fibers, they altered the spiritual landscape in ways that are perhaps less tangible toWestern scholarly inquiry but no less significant to investigating these individuals’ influence on the tiny archipelago in which they found themselves. Uncovering these multiple layers of meaning requires imagining the archive in an expansive, speculative way that moves beyond certain narratives of the documentary record to a fuller consideration of the process of making place in an early modern Atlantic colony.

Charlton W. Yingling, “No One Who Reads the History of Hayti Can Doubt the Capacity of Colored Men: Racial Formation and Atlantic Rehabilitation in New York City’s Early Black Press, 1827-1841.” Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 11, no. 2 (2013): 314–348.
Abstract:

From 1827 to 1841 the black newspapers Freedom’s Journal and the Colored American of New York City were venues for one of the first significant racial projects in the United States. To counter aspersions against their race, the editors of these publications renegotiated their community’s identity within the matrix of the Black Atlantic away from waning discourses of a collective African past. First, Freedom’s Journal used the Haitian Revolution to exemplify resistance, abolitionism, and autonomy. The Colored American later projected the Republic of Haiti as a model of governance, prosperity, and refinement to serve this community’s own evolving ambitions of citizenship, inclusion, and rights.

ARTICLE: Davidson on Ex-Slave Reparations in the Early 20th Century United States

James M. Davidson, “Encountering the Ex-Slave Reparations Movement from the Grave:  The National Industrial Council and National Liberty Party, 1901-1907.” Journal of African American History 97, no. 1–2 (Winter-Spring 2012): 13–38.
First Paragraph:
“The call for reparations for those who suffered under the blight of slavery and its aftermath is one increasingly heard today, but this call is hardly a new one.  Rather, the notion of reparations, or in earlier terms, ex-slave pensions, was something argued for and against throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  While the discipline of history traditionally records this story, archaeology can help fill in the gaps and illuminate this past in a unique way.  One vital link to this past is contained in historic cemeteries, where the mortal remains of those who lived and died under slavery and the first decades after emancipation now lie.”
This special issue of the Journal of African-American History, “African-Americans and Movements for Reparations: Past, Present, and Future (Dedicated to the Scholarly Legacy of Dr. Ronald W. Walters),” includes an introduction by V. P. Franklin, articles by Elaine Allen Lechtreck, Keith A. Dye, Emma T. Lucas-Darby, Ronald W. Walters, and review essays by Pero Gaglo Dagbovie, Clyde C. Robertson.