Civil rights activist Dorothy Height in ‘very serious’ condition –

Civil rights activist Dorothy Height, 98, remained in “very serious, but stable condition” Saturday, her friend and spokeswoman said.

“A flurry of rumors about Height’s death appeared Saturday on the Internet, particularly on the social networking site Twitter, where her name was a trending topic. Wikipedia also briefly reported Height’s death.

Height remains hospitalized, according to Alexis Herman, her friend and former secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. Height was admitted to Howard University Hospital earlier this week. Further details about her condition were not immediately available.

“We are grateful for the professional care of her doctors,” Herman said in a written statement. “We especially thank everyone for your thoughts, prayers and support during this challenging time.”

Height, who turned 98 Wednesday, is chair and president emerita of the National Council of Negro Women. In the 1960s, she worked alongside civil rights pioneers, including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., future U.S. Rep. John Lewis and A. Philip Randolph.

She has been active in civil rights since the New Deal era, according to her biography on the National Council of Negro Women’s Web site.

As a leader of the United Christian Youth Movement of North America beginning in 1933, “she worked to prevent lynching, desegregate the armed forces, reform the criminal justice system and for free access to public accommodations,” the site says.

She was elected president of the NCNW in 1957 and held the post until 1998.”

via Civil rights activist Dorothy Height in ‘very serious’ condition –


Pargas on Slave Family in the U.S. South

Pargas, Damian Alan. “Boundaries and Opportunities:  Comparing Slave Family Formation in the Antebellum South.” Journal of Family History 33 (2008): 316-345.


Our understanding of the marriage strategies and family formation of enslaved people remains clouded by disagreement among contemporary scholars. A perusal of the historical literature suggests that two issues lay at the root of this disagreement: First, scholars disagree over the extent to which slave family life was shaped by the external factors of slavery, or rather slave agency; and second, scholars appear reluctant to abandon their singular views of the slave family. This article addresses both of these gaps by formulating a middle ground in the slave agency debate and by redefining the slave family in plural form. An analysis of the boundaries and opportunities for family formation in northern Virginia and lowcountry South Carolina, this study shows that while the establishment of co-residential two-parent households was the ideal for slaves, not all were able to realize that ideal, and those that could not adapted their marriage strategies and family lives accordingly.

The Journal of Family History is celebrating its 35th anniversary by offering free access to highly read articles.  Access the article here.

Documentary: For Love of Liberty

“At the center of this multi-faceted initiative is a four-hour, High Definition, two-part documentary television series Executive Produced by Louis Gossett Jr., introduced by Colin Powell and hosted on-camera by Halle Berry. Ten years in the making, the film uses letters, diaries, speeches, journalistic accounts, historical text and military records to document and acknowledge the sacrifices and accomplishments of African-American service men and women since the earliest days of the republic. The story spans the Revolution to the Inauguration of Barack Obama and examines why, despite enormous injustice, these heroic men and women fought so valiantly for freedoms they themselves did not enjoy. The project’s goal is to raise public consciousness and shed light on an extraordinary and relatively unexplored aspect of our nation’s history. The central theme of the initiative, the price of liberty, is relevant to all Americans….”

via For Love of Liberty – Overview.

Fields-Black on Deep Roots of Rice Cultivation in West Africa and the Diaspora

Fields-Black, Edda L. Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora. Indiana University Press, 2008.

Gilbert, Erik.  “Coastal Rice Farming Systems in Guinea and Sierra Leone, Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora. By Edda L. Fields-Black.”  The Journal of African History 50, no. 03 (2009): 437-438.

From the review by Erik Gilbert:

“The role of African technologies and agricultural knowledge in the development of rice farming in the Americas has drawn considerable scholarly attention in the last decade. That Africans might have contributed not just their labor to the tidal rice-farming systems of the South Carolina Low Country but also essential knowledge of the techniques needed to grow rice in that challenging environment is highly appealing. It gives agency to enslaved Africans and recognizes the sophistication of West African riziculture. The most recent expression of this idea has been Judith Carney’s Black Rice.1 Carney’s work has been challenged by David Eltis, Philip Morgan, and David Richardson, who have argued that the number of slaves coming to South Carolina from rice-growing areas of Africa is too small to explain the development of American rice farming.2

Edda Fields-Black’s new book contributes to this debate primarily by adding to our knowledge of the coastal rice-farming systems of Guinea and Sierra Leone, where rice-farming techniques most closely resemble the tidal irrigation systems of the South Carolina Low Country. In this part of Sierra Leone, farmers clear mangrove swamps and, through careful control of the movement of fresh water through the fields, drain and desalinate the soil. This is a process that can take years and that can be reversed almost instantly if embankments built to keep salt water out are breached. Managing the water supply to these fields requires careful harnessing of tides in the river estuaries so that salt water is kept out but fresh water is allowed in. Early observers of this system assumed that the stateless societies of the coast were unlikely to have created so complex a technology and that it must have been introduced either by Europeans or by Africans from the states of the interior….”

Read the rest at Cambridge Journals ($$)

New Journal and CFP: Notes & Records: Journal of African and African Diaspora Studies

Notes & Records: Journal of African and African Diaspora Studies (NRJAADS)
Call for Papers Date:    2010-06-04

On behalf of Southern Interdisciplinary Roundtable on African Studies SIRAS), Kentucky State University, and the Editors, I am writing to inform you about the launching of a new peer-reviewed journal titled Notes and Records: An International Journal of African and African Diaspora Studies published by Kentucky State University on a bi-annual basis.

The journal is primarily devoted to publishing original studies related to the linkages and relationships between Africans and the African Diaspora. The journal aims to focus on the varied webs of connections between the Africans and the African Diaspora in an interdisciplinary approach. Studies related to history, politics, culture, literature, gender, music/dance, globalization, war, resistance, and civil rights movements that illuminate the varied experiences of Diasporic people are welcome….

Read the announcement here.

Zeuske on the Amistad, Slavery and Slave Trade (Fordham)

"Cinque (fac-simile of the original autograph). The Chief of the Amistad Captives," in Wilson Armistead, A Tribute to the Negro (Manchester, NH, 1848), p. 501., as shown on, sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library."

New Perspectives on the Amistad

Dr. Michael Zeuske of the University of Cologne will speak on his new findings in Cuban and Spanish archives on the Amistad and its captain, Ramón Ferrer, and what they tell us about slavery and the slave trade in Cuba and the Atlantic world in the nineteenth century.

Please join us on Monday, March 22nd, at 10am, 12th Floor Lounge of the Lowenstein Building, Fordham , Lincoln Center (entrance on NW corner of 60th & Columbus).  This lecture is open to the public.

Sponsored by the History Department’s Washington Irving Society, the Dean of Faculty, and the Latin American & Latino Studies Institute.

For more information, contact Christopher Schmidt-Nowara at schmidtnowar at

CFP: Imagining Slavery: National Representations of the History of Slavery and Abolition

Detail of oil painting (courtesy of Jon Sensbach) of Cornelius van de Compagnie, as he is identified on the painting, as shown on, sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library." Click image for more


Imagining Slavery: National Representations of the History of Slavery
and Abolition
A one-day interdisciplinary workshop

Danish National Archives, Copenhagen
8th September 2010


This workshop, which forms part of the EURESCL research project, will
provide scholars with opportunity to examine how the history of slavery
and abolition has featured in national histories, national memories, and
national educational curriculums. The workshop will draw together
scholars from different disciplines and geographic specialisations, and
the organizers are especially keen to hear from scholars who work within
comparative frameworks. Possible themes include:

– The history and mythology of ‘benign slavery’ in national
– Anti-slavery, national ‘honour’ and related models of ‘civilization’
and the ‘civilizing mission’.
– Forgetting slavery, remembering abolition.
– Comparative histories of slavery and abolition.
– Museums, monuments and other national representations of slavery and
– Teaching slavery and abolition in national curriculums.
Continue reading “CFP: Imagining Slavery: National Representations of the History of Slavery and Abolition”

Review: Divanna on Identity in Brazil

Carlos Juliao, Riscos illuminados de figurinhos de broncos e negros dos uzos do Rio de Janeiro e Serro do Frio (Rio de Janeiro, 1960), plate 27, as shown on, sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library."

Divanna, Isabel. “Multi-Faceted Approaches to Identity in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Brazil.” The Historical Journal 53, no. 01 (2010): 225-235.

First paragraph steal:

“The past four decades have seen the rapid expansion of the field of Brazilian studies in the Anglophone world. Brazilian scholars as well as their European and North American counterparts have re-evaluated the role of institutions, racial relations, party politics, and identity construction in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Brazil, replacing explanations of the colonial and imperial years based on economics with approaches that tend to prioritize politics, culture, and social relations.1 This review looks at recent Anglophone books about Brazilian history to understand how scholars have approached issues relevant to the construction of Brazilian identity from a variety of perspectives. Ranging from the matters of regional identity versus the national paradigm in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the contribution of race to the debates (historiographic and actual) about what constitutes the Brazilian character from 1750 to the present day, and the understanding of the Brazilian political culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the books surveyed here provide insight into the ways through which scholars are studying the creation and development of modern Brazilian identity. One possible comment about the state of Anglophone scholarship of Brazilian identity is, as will become clear in this review, that there is a lack of cross-methodological awareness from different fields of historical research, which often has led approaches to the question of identity to become compartmentalized and intra-disciplinary, as opposed to methodologically comparative. While this problem is not unique to Brazilian scholarship, it merits further attention….”

Cambridge Journals ($$)

NewsBank’s Black History Month Special Reports

This is an undated photo of William Henry Singleton, a Craven County, N.C. slave, born about 1843. Singleton originally published his story in a local newspaper in Peekskill, N.Y., and now "Recollections of My Slavery Days" has been published in a 123-page hardbound volumn by the N.C. Division of Archives and History. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Leroy Fitch)

In-depth perspectives on black culture, issues and events, along with profiles of famous figures and leaders. Includes primary source images from the slavery movement.  Available and updated for 2010 Black History Month (US).

via NewsBank Black History.

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