Evergreen 📸 by Matthew Hinton:
Michael Ross was interviewed by Laine Kaplan-Levenson of TriPod: NOLA at 300 on his book The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era (Oxford, 2014):
At the UNC Press Blog, historian LaKisha Simmons “explores the historic and symbolic significance of the plantation settings in Beyonce’s visual album, Lemonade:”
Lisa Ze Winters, The Mulatta Concubine: Terror, Intimacy, Freedom, and Desire in the Black Transatlantic. University of Georgia Press, 2016.
Erin Greenwald (Historic New Orleans Collection) and Joshua Rothman (University of Alabama) on commemorating New Orleans role in the domestic slave trade:
“This interactive Google map shows original newspaper ads for fugitive slaves and contemporary locations of identified sites. Click on the name of a fugitive from the list or on a map point to reveal the ad and corresponding site. Green markers indicate points of flight; red markers, points of refuge.
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Adam Rothman remarks on a freed woman of color’s petition for manumission, posted by the National Archives on June 30, 2015:
“…One aspect of Marguerite Thompson’s petition that drew my attention is the fact that she submitted her petition to the Judge Charles Peabody’s U.S. Provisional Court (USPC). This court was established by the United States after Union forces seized New Orleans in 1862. Legal scholar John Gordan writes that “the most legally dramatic of the Provisional Court’s activities was its granting of manumission petitions by slaveholders.” (See Gordan’s article, “New York Justice in Civil War Louisiana,” Judicial Notice 8, p. 20)
As Gordan reveals, one of those slaveholders who appealed to Judge Peabody to manumit his slaves was the lawyer Thomas Jefferson Durant, who later represented Rose Herera in her quest to recover her children.
If your summer travels take you to Louisiana, be sure to visit Whitney Plantation in Wallace, Louisiana (about forty miles from New Orleans). See below for #ADPhD Founder and Curator Jessica Marie Johnson’s reflection on her visit last February….
“Each statue represents a person. Most represent one of the thirty odd men and women who experienced slavery in Louisiana as a child and was interviewed by Works Progress Administration investigators in the 1930s as an elder. A handful represent a child who labored at the plantation site at some point in its history, a child with a story we now know.
Each child has a name. They have identities and histories. They are neither nameless nor voiceless, as so many subaltern historical subjects are, particularly in histories of slavery. They have already spoken. The statues and everything they represent also give lie to the presumption that the enslaved left no stories, no words worth mentioning or remembering. Or believing.
By choosing to engage the visitors through a historically African-American church filled with statues of enslaved children, Ibrahima Seck, the Director of Research, does more than memorialize the original interviewees and enslaved members of the Haydel/Whitney Plantation site. Seck and the Whitney staff force us to enter the plantation by walking past, watching, and being watched by enslaved themselves. The figures act as artifacts of and portals into the words and lives of residents of Louisiana who experienced slavery, who engaged Writers’ Project interviewers as experts in their own lives. Confronted with their familiars, we are challenged to take them seriously as the only experts that matter. As intellectuals in their own right and masters of their own words and worlds.
This is the visitor’s introduction to the Whitney Plantation and Slave Museum…”
Read the rest at AAIHS: Time, Space, and Memory at Whitney Plantation
Elizabeth C. Neidenbach, “‘Mes dernières volontés’: Testaments to the Life of Marie Couvent, a Former Slave in New Orleans.” Transatlantica. Revue d’études américaines. American Studies Journal, no. 2 (October 10, 2012). http://transatlantica.revues.org/6186.
“In her last will and testament, recorded on November 12, 1832, Marie Justine Cirnaire, Veuve Couvent left specific instructions about how her estate should be divided. After three decades in New Orleans this free woman of color had accumulated a sizeable amount of property, including slaves and land. With her will Couvent claimed a lasting legacy as a patron of African American education when she declared that a school be established on her property. That this French-speaking former slave could not sign her own name makes such an act remarkable. In fact, Couvent made two wills in New Orleans, the first dated twenty years earlier on October 26, 1812. Through a close reading of Couvent’s wills, this article will explore the life of a woman who was born in Africa, enslaved in Saint-Domingue, and died a free and wealthy slave owner in New Orleans.
As catalogs of material accumulation, acts of autobiography, and maps of social networks, these legal documents suggest the ways Couvent and other former slaves created identities as free people through property ownership and personal relationships. The differences between Couvent’s two wills are significant, revealing traces of her experiences from a slave in Saint-Domingue to a free woman in Louisiana. These discrepancies also reflect broader transformations in New Orleans. Placing the wills in their historical context not only allows me to fill the gaps in her life story, but reveals a complicated picture of how free people of color sustained their community as the center of slavery shifted into the Deep South. Together, Marie Couvent’s wills provide a rare glimpse into a life, in and out of slavery, that otherwise would have remained obscure…”
Read the rest: Transatlantica