Jay Milbrandt, “Livingstone and the Law: Africa’s Greatest Explorer and the Abolition of the Slave Trade.” SSRN eLibrary (August 20, 2012).
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
Via Repeating Islands:
Colin Dayan recently received a Vanderbilt University Chancellor’s Award for her research and book The Law Is a White Dog: How Legal Rituals Make and Unmake Persons (Princeton University Press, 2011), which was selected by Choice as one of top 25 books for 2011…
Description (excerpt): Moving seamlessly across genres and disciplines, Dayan considers legal practices and spiritual beliefs from medieval England, the North American colonies, and the Caribbean that have survived in our legal discourse, and she explores the civil deaths of felons and slaves through lawful repression. Tracing the legacy of slavery in the United States in the structures of the contemporary American prison system and in the administrative detention of ghostly supermax facilities, she also demonstrates how contemporary jurisprudence regarding cruel and unusual punishment prepared the way for abuses in Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo.
Read the more details on the announcement via Repeating Islands and the press announcement. Read more about the book at Princeton University Press.
Advertisement from J.M. Wilson for sale of Maryland and Virginia Negroes. Source: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture / Photographs and Prints Division (Click Image)
Jessica Millward,. “‘That All Her Increase Shall Be Free’: Enslaved Women’s Bodies and the Maryland 1809 Law of Manumission.” Women’s History Review 21, no. 3 (2012): 363–378.
This article investigates the relationship between manumission laws and enslaved women’s bodies in Maryland, USA. The point of departure is the 1809 ‘Act to Ascertain and Declare the Condition of Such Issue as may hereafter be born of Negro or Mulatto Female Slaves,’ which minimized age requirements for freeing enslaved children. If the status of living or future children was not established at the time the manumission document for the mother was presented in court, then any such children were to remain in bondage. As this article argues, the 1809 law represented what lawmakers, slaveholders, and bondpeople already knew—that freedom, like enslavement, was tied to a bondwoman’s womb. By investigating apprenticeship records, legal statutes, manumission documents, and African American petitions for freedom, this article argues that the deployment of black women’s bodies within the law challenged, extended, and defined definitions of freedom in the decades leading up to the Civil War.