FILM: Retracing African Methodism

Allen Report

This documentary project retrieves the liberation legacy of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) in three different locations united by common narratives related to struggles against enslavement and Apartheid. In retracing the connected stories of the AME in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Namibia, the documentary reveals the extraordinary legacy of African Methodism outside the United States and contributes to the excavation of the global circuits that historically bind Africa and the African Diaspora.

The AME Mother Bethel Church was founded by Rev. Richard Allen [shown above] in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1794, and was the first Protestant church ministered exclusively by former enslaved people. While the roots of the church in the United States have been well researched, the global—or Pan-African—story of the AME has so far received insufficient attention.

As well as providing a seminal academic contribution to the history of the AME church that presents original research, the Allen Report documentary will also serve as an educational tool. The documentary will help raise awareness amongst AME and wider constituencies regarding the relevance of Black liberation theology and its hermeneutics which are still vibrating globally and growing. Additionally, this film will emphasize the contributions of the AME traditional involvement in community education and health services in its multiple geographic sites.


via Forthcoming Film on Retracing Transnational African Methodism | Repeating Islands.

FILM: The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross


via PBS:

“Noted Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. recounts the full trajectory of African-American history in his groundbreaking new six-part series The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. premiering Tuesday, October 22, 2013,  8-9 p.m. ET on PBS and airing six consecutive Tuesdays through November 26, 2013  (check local listings). Written and presented by Professor Gates, the six-hour series explores the evolution of the African-American people, as well as the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives they developed — forging their own history, culture and society against unimaginable odds. Commencing with the origins of slavery in Africa, the series moves through five centuries of remarkable historic events right up to the present — when America is led by a black president, yet remains a nation deeply divided by race…”

About the Documentary Series | The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross | PBS.

WEB/SOURCES: Registers of the Havana Slave Trade Commission Compiled by H.B. Lovejoy

via Registers of the Havana Slave Trade Commission | Desk of H.B. Lovejoy.

“Between 1808 and 1848, courts in Freetown, Sierra Leone and Havana, Cuba, charged with suppressing the transatlantic slave trade, meticulously recorded the African names and physical features (sex, age, height; and evidence of ethnic scarring and small pox) for almost 100,000 people rescued off slave ships. These records are known as “The Registers of Liberated Africans;” and they constitute a large and representative sample of an estimated 2.7 million people carried to the Americas after 1807 – the majority of whom landed in Brazil (1.9 million) and most of the rest in Cuba. Thus,  they may be the most cohesive body of documentation available for assessing where people came from in West Africa.

Although the Sierra Leone registers contain over 85,000 names, the focus is on the smaller, yet equally significant dataset made in Havana. I updated the Registers of the Havana Slave Trade Commission, 1824-1841. It totals 10,391 “liberated Africans.” It was made using digital copies of the original records. A team of historians made multiple revisions of the lettering for each name. To find out more about the making of this database please click here. The Havana Registers database is a small part of the African Names Database….”

For more information, click here. Many thanks to Linda Rodriguez for bringing this resource to our attention.

ARTICLES: Slavery and Emancipation in The Journal of the Civil War Era

Edward King, The Great South (Hartford, Conn., 1875), p. 83 (Special Collections, University of Virginia Library) as shown on, compiled by Jerome Handler and Michael Tuite, and sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library. (Click image for details)
Edward King, The Great South (Hartford, Conn., 1875), p. 83 (Special Collections, University of Virginia Library) as shown on, compiled by Jerome Handler and Michael Tuite, and sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library. (Click image for details)

Steven Hahn. “Slave Emancipation, Indian Peoples, and the Projects of a New American Nation-State.” The Journal of the Civil War Era 3, no. 3 (2013): 307–330.

“At the very time he was drafting the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in September 1862, President Abraham Lincoln dispatched one of his generals, John Pope, to Minnesota with orders to suppress a rebellion of the eastern, or Santee, division of the Sioux. The rebellion built on at least two decades of festering tensions that had turned relatively amicable exchange relations with British, French, and American traders—some of whom had intermarried and been incorporated into villages—into hardbitten political conflicts with various federal officials and white settlers (mostly German, Scandinavian, and Irish immigrants) who hungrily eyed the fertile and game-rich terrain of southern Minnesota. In the process, the Sioux (who in this case composed four bands and called themselves Dakotas) had ceded millions of acres, which included ancestral grounds, for a strip of reservation land along the Minnesota River, annuity payments, and supplies. Recalcitrance in the U.S. Congress along with corruption among Indian agents and traders then combined to stretch a series of treaties to the breaking point; by the 1850s, the Dakotas were under great stress and increasingly divided over how best to respond, as some of their bands faced starvation…”

Beth Barton Schweiger. “The Literate South: Reading before Emancipation.” The Journal of the Civil War Era 3, no. 3 (2013): 331–359.

“The Old South had famously few public schools, but it teemed with readers. The archives are stuffed with evidence of them. Historians cannot possibly read all the diaries, letters, half-finished novels, bad poetry, receipts, recipes, lecture notes, speeches, love letters, commonplace books, and essays these readers left behind. They filled newspaper columns with their editorials and letters, magazines with their poetry, pamphlets with their sermons, mail sacks with their letters, court dockets with their opinions, and ledger books with their figures. They have supplied enough raw materials to keep members of the Southern Historical Association occupied for more than three-quarters of a century, to set scholars parsing the eighty-seven North American slave autobiographies written before emancipation, to offer Bell Wiley “amazingly large quantities” of letters written by ordinary soldiers, and to sustain Michael O’Brien for twelve hundred pages. “The South was a place,” he has written, “into which torrents of print poured….”

Brian P. Luskey. “Special Marts: Intelligence Offices, Labor Commodification, and Emancipation in Nineteenth-Century America.” The Journal of the Civil War Era 3, no. 3 (2013): 360–391.

““It seems to be absolutely necessary in large cities,” James Gordon Bennett explained in an 1859 issue of the New York Herald, “that labor, like every other merchantable commodity, should have its special marts.” In more than one column of prime, front-page real estate, Bennett informed readers about these marts, colloquially dubbed intelligence offices. Even though most Americans still found work or workers through friends and family members, these employment agencies were ubiquitous institutions in the middle decades of the nineteenth century. Bennett estimated that there were between forty and sixty such shops in Manhattan, while other commentators counted hundreds. In these offices—sometimes located below ground, in basements, to evade police surveillance and city licensing requirements—employment agents sold information about the labor market to prospective employees and employers so the former could find work and the latter could find workers. Intelligence office keepers collected a fee ranging from fifty cents to a dollar from each party who sought information. In the waiting rooms of these establishments, agents, workers, and employers met face-to-face, asking questions and inspecting appearances to deduce character traits and skills in the hopes of making amenable bargains with each other….”

REVIEW ESSAY – Nicole Etcheson. “Microhistory and Movement: African American Mobility in the Nineteenth Century.” The Journal of the Civil War Era 3, no. 3 (2013): 392–404.

“African American history may be one of the last fields to receive a micro-historical treatment. Nineteenth-century African American history has been favored with sweeping accounts of the black experience, ranging from John Blassingame’s classic The Slave Community to Ira Berlin’s more recent Many Thousands Gone. Studies on more focused topics such as slavery in the Chesapeake or free blacks in the North have certainly contributed to knowledge of the black experience, but scarce records, especially the lack of firsthand accounts for many aspects of black life, make microhistory’s tight focus on the “proudly small” difficult to achieve…”

Image Credit: Edward King, The Great South (Hartford, Conn., 1875), p. 83 (Special Collections, University of Virginia Library) as shown on, compiled by Jerome Handler and Michael Tuite, and sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library. (Click image for details)

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