Petrella on Slavery, Democracy, and the Racialized Roots of the Electoral College | @AAIHS

In response to the recent election, #ADPhD is sharing reflections, short takes, and responses from scholars of slavery. To submit yours, click here.

On November 14, 2016, in light of the recent election, the Christopher F. Petrella published this essay on the African American Intellectual History Society blog:

Petrella writes:

“In a direct election system, the North would have outnumbered the South (which had a large population but far fewer eligible voters), whose roughly 550,000 enslaved black people were disenfranchised. Delegates from the South generally supported Madison’s idea of the Electoral College over a direct election system because it was based solely on population volume, not citizenship status or enfranchisement. In conjunction, and at Madison’s urging, the convention agreed to count each enslaved black person as three-fifths of a citizen for the purpose of calculating each state’s representation in the Electoral College and in the allotment of congressional seats.”

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ARTICLE: Semley on “To Live and Die, Free and French”

 
Toussaint Louverture [Image fixe] : chef des noirs insurgés de Saint Domingue (entre 1796 et 1799) / Collection de Vinck. Un siècle d'histoire de France par l'estampe, 1770-1870. Vol. 44
Toussaint Louverture: chef des noirs insurgés de Saint Domingue (entre 1796 et 1799) / Collection de Vinck. Un siècle d’histoire de France par l’estampe, 1770-1870. Vol. 44 / BNF
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 (2013): 65–90.

Abstract:

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BOOK: Holland on the Slaves in the White House

Holland, Jesse J. The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African American Slaves in the White House. Guilford, Connecticut: Lyons Press, 2016.

Lyon Press:
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VIDEO: Bell on Enslaved Labor Used to Build the Capitol | C-SPAN

LCP-01Z_Slaves_Chained_in_front_of_Capitol.jpg
Chained Slaves in Front of the U.S. Capital Building, Washington, D.C., 1814, Jesse Torrey, A Portraiture of Domestic Slavery in the United States (Philadelphia, 1817), between pp. 36 and 37. (Copy in Library Company of Philadelphia) as shown on http://www.slaveryimages.org, compiled by Jerome Handler and Michael Tuite, and sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library.

via #slaveryarchive:
Continue reading “VIDEO: Bell on Enslaved Labor Used to Build the Capitol | C-SPAN”

ARTICLE: Hartman on Black Women’s Labors

HW9-760
“Negro Quarters” in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine (1853), vol. 9, p. 753. (Copy in Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library) as shown on http://www.slaveryimages.org, compiled by Jerome Handler and Michael Tuite, and sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library.
Saidiya Hartman, “The Belly of the World: A Note on Black Women’s Labors.” Souls 18, no. 1 (2016): 166-173.
First paragraph:

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ARTICLES/DIGITAL: Foreman and more on the Colored Conventions Project

A recent issue of Common-Place (16.1, 2015) featured a roundtable on the Colored Conventions Project:

Continue reading “ARTICLES/DIGITAL: Foreman and more on the Colored Conventions Project”

DIGITAL: Rudisell of the Colored Conventions Project on Copyright and Doing Digital Black History

Carol A. Rudisell, librarian at the University of Delaware Library, writes about working with the Colored Conventions Project (previously featured at #ADPhD & Diaspora Hypertext, the Blog):

Continue reading “DIGITAL: Rudisell of the Colored Conventions Project on Copyright and Doing Digital Black History”

BOOK: Sinha on Abolition as the “Slave’s Cause”

sinha_slave_s_cause_cover

Manisha Sinha, The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2016.

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Rael on Ferguson, Respectability Politics, and the Early Republic

Six months after the murder of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, it is worth revisiting scholars’ reflections on what his death, extrajudicial killings of people of African descent, and histories of slavery and diaspora have in common. Last August, Patrick Rael placed present-day re-articulations of respectability politics against a long history of black political rhetoric, beginning with antebellum free black activists’ debates about moral uplift as a tool against racist prejudice in the United States:

 

“To its progenitors, this philosophy of self-help, respectability, and uplift offered a potent means of altering the “public mind” and reducing racial prejudice. Placing enormous (but misguided) faith in the rationality of the public sphere, black spokespersons offered the personal as the key place of power. In addition to its innate value (simply living a good and godly life was likely to make one more successful), self-regulation would liberate the enslaved and make equal the free.

But the cost of this approach was high, as these pioneers understood. The “respectability” strategy placed great demands on a people already laboring under grave disabilities. As Jones and Allen noted, “the judicious part of mankind will think it unreasonable, that a superior good conduct is looked for, from our race, by those who stigmatize us as men, whose baseness in incurable, and may therefore be held in a state of servitude.”

Seven decades later and freedom won, black abolitionist Sarah Remond chafed under the weight of these expectations. Just months after the Civil War freed the slaves, she wrote: “We are expected to be not only equal to the dominant races, but to excel in all that goes toward forming a noble manhood or womanhood. We are expected to develop in the highest perfection a race which for eight generations in the United States has been laden with the curse of slavery. Even some of our friends seem to expect this, but our enemies demand it” (London Daily News, November 11, 1865).”

 

Read the rest: Mixing science and religion: A view of Ferguson from the early republic.

EDITED: Hull, Scott & Smith’s Some of Us Are Brave (1982)

HullButSomeofUsAreBrave

African Diaspora, Ph.D. is revisiting scholarship that has shaped the study of people of African descent across time and place. 

In 1982, Hull, Scott, and Smith published a compilation of scholarship on the history, condition, and politics of black women in the United States. The works collected in Some of Us Are Brave spoke back to academic and policy research done in the name of black women, and challenged their absence from contemporary black studies and women’s studies curriculum. A groundbreaking interdisciplinary and activist venture, Some of Us Are Brave shaped the way women of African descent in the United States would be studied, organize, and theorize for decades to come.

Gloria T. Hull, Patricia B. Scott, and Barbara Smith, eds. All the Women Are White, and All the Blacks Are Men, but Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women’s Studies. New York: Feminist Press, 1982.

via the Feminist Press:

Bibliographies and a collection of syllabi provide readers with essential classroom materials and a map for further research. Winner of the Outstanding Women of Color Award and the Women Educator’s Curriculum Material Award.

“A clear statement about Black women. Congratulations to the editors for compiling such a fine interdisciplinary volume.”

—Geraldine K. Brookins, Ph.D., Jackson State University

“Exciting! Affirmations and the beginning of a new era, where the ‘women’ in women’s studies will no longer mean ‘white.’”

—Audre Lorde

”This is ‘necessary bread’ for women of all colors. The essays contain not only fact and durable resources, but some of the best writing I’ve seen around.”

—Adrienne Rich