ESSAY: Foreman on Violence, Citizenship, and Histories of Slavery (2013)

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Two years after Trayvon Martin was killed in Florida and weeks after the Michael Dunn verdict, African Diaspora, Ph.D. revisits P. Gabrielle Foreman’s essay on violence, bodies, and black futurity (first published February 27, 2013 at the Black Space):

“….I am a nineteenth-century literary historian who regularly wonders if she’s walked through a portal and landed in an updated version of her least favorite Octavia Butler novel, triumphal moments quickly fading as we’re snatched back again to the 1850s, fugitive slave law past, Dred Scott decision coming. No voting rights, anymore, in any Northern States save five, no rights to witness, to say your piece in court, no public schools meant to prepare your children for citizenship or jobs. How is today not yesterday, when last year’s days and nights passed with us demanding not justice, just an arrest, when Trayvon was gunned down, on his way home, during half-time, during Black history month, last February?”

Read the entire piece: The Ground We Stand On: On Inaugurations, Anniversaries and the Deaths of Trayvon Martin |The Black Space. Foreman’s work on Harriet Wilson is also discussed here.

Image Credit: “Effects of the Fugitive-Slave-Law,” New York:Hoff & Bloede, 1850, as seen on Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

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