Salamishah Tillet writes: Continue reading “Tillet on How ‘The Birth of a Nation’ Silences Black Women | @NYTimes”
This enlightening discussion will focus on memory, commemorations, and legacies of the slave trade and slavery, and feature panelists John Cummings and Ibrahima Seck of the Whitney Plantation and Museum; Columbia University professor Saidiya Hartman; architect Rodney Leon; and University of Pennsylvania professor Salamishah Tillett.
This program is brought to you by the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery.@SchomburgLive | #SlaveryandMemory
“As an undergraduate at Penn in the 1990s, Salamishah Tillet C’96 experienced some of the best and very worst that a young person’s college years can offer. It was here that she made lasting friendships and found the inspiring classes and mentors that sparked her ambition to become a scholar and teacher herself. And it was also here that, during her freshman year, she was sexually assaulted by a fellow student—a trauma compounded by a second rape while she was on a study-abroad program in Kenya during her junior year.
“More than forty years after the major victories of the civil rights movement, African Americans have a vexed relation to the civic myth of the United States as the land of equal opportunity and justice for all. In Sites of Slavery Salamishah Tillet examines how contemporary African American artists and intellectuals—including Annette Gordon-Reed, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Bill T. Jones, Carrie Mae Weems, and Kara Walker—turn to the subject of slavery in order to understand and challenge the ongoing exclusion of African Americans from the founding narratives of the United States. She explains how they reconstruct “sites of slavery”—contested figures, events, memories, locations, and experiences related to chattel slavery—such as the allegations of a sexual relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, the characters Uncle Tom and Topsy in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, African American tourism to slave forts in Ghana and Senegal, and the legal challenges posed by reparations movements. By claiming and recasting these sites of slavery, contemporary artists and intellectuals provide slaves with an interiority and subjectivity denied them in American history, register the civic estrangement experienced by African Americans in the post–civil rights era, and envision a more fully realized American democracy.”
DUP has posted the first chapter using Scribd. Read it here.