FORUM on the International Underground Railroad Memorial

International Underground Railroad Memorial, Detroit, MI & Windsor, Canada / Ed Dwight

International Underground Railroad Memorial, Detroit, MI & Windsor, Canada / Sculptor, Ed Dwight

The January 2013 issue of the Journal of American Ethnic History hosts a forum on the International Underground Railroad Memorial:

Faires, Nora. “Across the Border to Freedom: The International Underground Railroad Memorial and the Meanings of Migration.” Journal of American Ethnic History 32, no. 2 (January 1, 2013): 38–67.

Kerber, Linda K. “Crossing Borders.” Journal of American Ethnic History 32, no. 2 (January 1, 2013): 68–72.

Arenson, Adam. “Experience Rather Than Imagination: Researching the Return Migration of African North Americans During the American Civil War and Reconstruction.” Journal of American Ethnic History 32, no. 2 (January 1, 2013): 73–77.

Frost, Karolyn Smardz. “African American and African Canadian Transnationalism Along the Detroit River Borderland: The Example of Madison J. Lightfoot.” Journal of American Ethnic History 32, no. 2 (January 1, 2013): 78–88.

via Journal of American Ethnic History and JAEH on JStor.

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BOOK: Naylor on African Cherokees, Race, and Slavery

African Cherokees

Celia E. Naylor. African Cherokees in Indian Territory: From Chattel to Citizens. Durham: The University of North Carolina Press, 2009.

via University of North Carolina Press:

Forcibly removed from their homes in the late 1830s, Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, and Chickasaw Indians brought their African-descended slaves with them along the Trail of Tears and resettled in Indian Territory, present-day Oklahoma. Celia E. Naylor vividly charts the experiences of enslaved and free African Cherokees from the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma’s entry into the Union in 1907. Carefully extracting the voices of former slaves from interviews and mining a range of sources in Oklahoma, she creates an engaging narrative of the composite lives of African Cherokees. Naylor explores how slaves connected with Indian communities not only through Indian customs–language, clothing, and food–but also through bonds of kinship.

Examining this intricate and emotionally charged history, Naylor demonstrates that the “red over black” relationship was no more benign than “white over black.” She presents new angles to traditional understandings of slave resistance and counters previous romanticized ideas of slavery in the Cherokee Nation. She also challenges contemporary racial and cultural conceptions of African-descended people in the United States. Naylor reveals how black Cherokee identities evolved reflecting complex notions about race, culture, “blood,” kinship, and nationality. Indeed, Cherokee freedpeople’s struggle for recognition and equal rights that began in the nineteenth century continues even today in Oklahoma.

BOOK: Hudson on Southeastern Indian Nations in the South

Creek Paths

Angela Pulley Hudson. Creek Paths and Federal Roads: Indians, Settlers, and Slaves and the Making of the American South. Durham: The University of North Carolina Press, 2010.

via University of North Carolina Press:

In Creek Paths and Federal Roads, Angela Pulley Hudson offers a new understanding of the development of the American South by examining travel within and between southeastern Indian nations and the southern states, from the founding of the United States until the forced removal of southeastern Indians in the 1830s.

During the early national period, Hudson explains, settlers and slaves made their way along Indian trading paths and federal post roads, deep into the heart of the Creek Indians’ world. Hudson focuses particularly on the creation and mapping of boundaries between Creek Indian lands and the states that grew up around them; the development of roads, canals, and other internal improvements within these territories; and the ways that Indians, settlers, and slaves understood, contested, and collaborated on these boundaries and transit networks.

While she chronicles the experiences of these travelers–Native, newcomer, free, and enslaved–who encountered one another on the roads of Creek country, Hudson also places indigenous perspectives squarely at the center of southern history, shedding new light on the contingent emergence of the American South.

Diaspora Hypertext, the Blog (Archived)

The University of Illinois Springfield will explore the importance of the Emancipation Proclamation in a new massive open online course (MOOC) during the spring semester. The free eight-week online course is open to anyone who wants to join world-wide.

The MOOC – titled The Emancipation Proclamation:  What Came Before, How It Worked, and What Followed – uses the sesquicentennial of President Lincoln’s issuance of the emancipation proclamation in 1863, to explore what happened in the United States before emancipation, how emancipation worked once proclaimed, and what happened in politics, economics, and society in the century and a half afterward.“It will also serve as a forum for participants to discuss the concept of emancipation in states and systems earlier than that of the U.S. and since to today,” said Ray Schroeder, UIS associate vice chancellor for online learning.

The MOOC will be co-taught by Matthew Holden, the Wepner Distinguished Professor…

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BOOK: Kaye on Slave Neighborhoods and Social Space

Joining Places

Anthony E. Kaye. Joining Places: Slave Neighborhoods in the Old South. Durham: The University of North Carolina Press, 2009.

via University of North Carolina Press:

In this new interpretation of antebellum slavery, Anthony Kaye offers a vivid portrait of slaves transforming adjoining plantations into slave neighborhoods. He describes men and women opening paths from their owners’ plantations to adjacent farms to go courting and take spouses, to work, to run away, and to otherwise contend with owners and their agents. In the course of cultivating family ties, forging alliances, working, socializing, and storytelling, slaves fashioned their neighborhoods into the locus of slave society.

Joining Places is the first book about slavery to use the pension files of former soldiers in the Union army, a vast source of rich testimony by ex-slaves. From these detailed accounts, Kaye tells the stories of men and women in love, “sweethearting,” “taking up,” “living together,” and marrying across plantation lines; striving to get right with God; carving out neighborhoods as a terrain of struggle; and working to overthrow the slaveholders’ regime. Kaye’s depiction of slaves’ sense of place in the Natchez District of Mississippi reveals a slave society that comprised not a single, monolithic community but an archipelago of many neighborhoods. Demonstrating that such neighborhoods prevailed across the South, he reformulates ideas about slave marriage, resistance, independent production, paternalism, autonomy, and the slave community that have defined decades of scholarship.

BOOK: Butchart on Freed People and Education in the U.S. South

Schooling the Freed People

Ronald Butchart. Schooling the Freed People: Teaching, Learning, and the Struggle for Black Freedom, 1861-1876. Durham: The University of North Carolina Press, 2010.

via University of North Carolina Press:

Conventional wisdom holds that freedmen’s education was largely the work of privileged, single white northern women motivated by evangelical beliefs and abolitionism. Backed by pathbreaking research, Ronald E. Butchart’s Schooling the Freed People shatters this notion. The most comprehensive quantitative study of the origins of black education in freedom ever undertaken, this definitive book on freedmen’s teachers in the South is an outstanding contribution to social history and our understanding of African American education.

BOOK: Rodriguez on the Voices of the Enslaved in Cuba

Voices of the Enslaved

Gloria Garcia Rodriguez. Voices of the Enslaved in Nineteenth-Century Cuba: A Documentary History. Translated by Nancy L. Westrate. Durham: The University of North Carolina Press, 2011.

via University of North Carolina Press:

Putting the voices of the enslaved front and center, Gloria García Rodríguez’s study presents a compelling overview of African slavery in Cuba and its relationship to the plantation system that was the economic center of the New World. A major essay by García, who has done decades of archival research on Cuban slavery, introduces the work, providing a history of the development, maintenance, and economy of the slave system in Cuba, which was abolished in 1886, later than in any country in the Americas except Brazil. The second part of the book features eighty previously unpublished primary documents selected by García that vividly illustrate the experiences of Cuba’s African slaves. This translation offers English-language readers a substantial look into the very rich, and much underutilized, material on slavery in Cuban archives and is especially suitable for teaching about the African diaspora, comparative slavery, and Cuban studies. Highlighting both the repressiveness of slavery and the legal and social spaces opened to slaves to challenge that repression, this collection reveals the rarely documented voices of slaves, as well as the social and cultural milieu in which they lived.

ARTICLE/JOURNAL: Radical History Review Special Issue: Haitian Lives/Global Perspectives

Je renais de mes cendres (via The Public Archive)

The Winter 2013 Radical History Review is a special issue: “Haitian Lives/Global Perspectives.”

From the introduction:

As several of the essays in this issue explain, in the years since Michel-Rolph Trouillot famously showed that the Haitian Revolution was “unthinkable” and its his- tory relegated to silence, the country’s history has gone from “hidden” and “unknow- able” to widely studied in the United States and beyond.2 The 2010 earthquake did stimulate a burst of interest in Haiti and its past among both scholars and the general public abroad. As sudden as this awakening may have seemed, however, to understand Haiti better people looked to a body of research, writing, and reflection by Haiti specialists that had been decades in the making. Yet, a great deal of mis- information, and in fact disinformation, persists alongside Haiti’s new cachet, and the perspectives of Haitians themselves are chronically absent from the discussion.

Table of Contents:

Amy Chazkel, Melina Pappademos, and Karen Sotiropoulos. “Editor’s Introduction: Haitian Lives/Global Perspectives.” Radical History Review 2013, no. 115 (Winter 2013): 1–9.

Gary Wilder. “Telling Histories: A Conversation with Laurent Dubois and Greg Grandin.” Radical History Review 2013, no. 115 (Winter 2013): 11–25.

April Mayes, Yolanda C. Martín, Carlos Ulises Decena, Kiran Jayaram, and Yveline Alexis. “Transnational Hispaniola: Toward New Paradigms in Haitian and Dominican Studies.” Radical History Review 2013, no. 115 (Winter 2013): 26–32.

Simon R. Doubleday. “History After the Earthquake: Shifting the Axis of Teaching.” Radical History Review 2013, no. 115 (Winter 2013): 33–44.

Paul Cheney. “A Colonial Cul De Sac Plantation Life in Wartime Saint-Domingue, 1775 – 1782.” Radical History Review 2013, no. 115 (Winter, 2013): 45–64.

Lorelle D. Semley. “To Live and Die, Free and French Toussaint Louverture’s 1801 Constitution and the Original Challenge of Black Citizenship.” Radical History Review 2013, no. 115 (Winter 2013): 65–90.

Peter James Hudson. “The National City Bank of New York and Haiti, 1909 – 1922.” Radical History Review 2013, no. 115 (Winter 2013): 91–114.

Jana K. Lipman. “‘The Fish Trusts the Water, and It Is in the Water That It Is Cooked’ The Caribbean Origins of the Krome Detention Center.” Radical History Review 2013, no. 115 (Winter 2013): 115–141.

A. Naomi Paik. “Carceral Quarantine at Guantánamo Legacies of US Imprisonment of Haitian Refugees, 1991 – 1994.” Radical History Review 2013, no. 115 (Winter 2013): 142–168.

Leah Gordon. “Kanaval Vodou, Politics, and Revolution in the Streets of Haiti.” Radical History Review 2013, no. 115 (Winter 2013): 169–183.

Jerry Philogene. “Meditations on Traveling Diasporically: Jean-Ulrick Désert and Negerhosen2000.” Radical History Review 2013, no. 115 (Winter 2013): 184–193.

David Geggus. “Haiti and Its Revolution: Four Recent Books.” Radical History Review 2013, no. 115 (Winter 2013): 195–202.

Matthew J. Smith. “Haiti from the Outside In: A Review of Recent Literature.” Radical History Review 2013, no. 115 (Winter 2013): 203–211.

Toussaint Losier. “Jean Anil Louis-Juste, Prezan!” Radical History Review 2013, no. 115 (Winter 2013): 213–217.

Featured Image Credit: “Je renais de mes cendres” posted at the Public Archive: “…The reverse bears the inscription Les armoiries du Roi Henry Christophe, 1767-1820, Bâtisseur de La Citadelle (The arms of King Henry Christophe, 1767-1820, Builder of the Citadel). In the middle is the king’s coat of arms, a crowned phoenix rising from the flames, with stars in the firmament and the words, Je renais de mes cendres. (I am reborn from my ashes.)…”

Radical Black Reading/Reading Haiti, 2012 | The Public Archive

Easily the most hyped Haiti-related book to come out in the past year was Purpose: An Immigrant Story (It Books), the memoir of rapper-turned-presidential-candidate Wyclef Jean. They say Purpose is actually not that bad, especially if you’re interested in either Clef’s take on the dissolution of the Fugees or his embittered account of his agonized history with Lauryn Hill. But it offers little on his controversial charity efforts or on his political aspirations, though perhaps these issues will be addressed in one of the proposed seven tomes Wyclef plans on writing.  Regardless, the books that interested us in 2012 were not over-marketed and vapid celebrity tell-alls but politically and intellectually engaged tracts – often published by smaller, lesser-known presses, and often overlooked by the mainstream….

Read the Rest: Radical Black Reading/Reading Haiti, 2012 | The Public Archive

ESSAY: Shaffer on Emancipation and “What Mattered More?”

As 1862 drew to a close, as far as emancipation was concerned the nation’s attention was riveted on whether President Abraham Lincoln would finalize the Emancipation Proclamation. They had little to worry about on that score. In the last days of 1862, Lincoln and his cabinet were not debating whether the administration should go ahead with the proclamation, but fussed over its exact wording. While these details certainly were important, it was clear from the discussions that the Emancipation Proclamation was going ahead.

Far from Washington, D.C., however, out in the country other things were happening that make the Lincoln administration putting the final touches on the Emancipation Proclamation seem not quite so important, as titanic a milestone as it was. One such place was Helena, Arkansas, west of the Mississippi River, far from the national capital. Like other parts of the Confederacy that had come under the control of federal forces, slaves in the vicinity fled to Union lines. Yet instead of finding protection, many of the slaves in Helena, Arkansas, instead found mistreatment from the Yankee soldiers and officers.

A committee of chaplains and surgeons reported these injustices to the Union commander of the Army of the Southwest, Maj. Gen. Samuel Curtis, in a letter dated December 29, 1862. They wrote:

Read the rest: What Mattered More? | Civil War Emancipation.