WEB: Free Access to Women and Social Movements in the United States this March

Source: The Pedestal 2, no. 1 (February 1970): 1. Courtesy of Simon Fraser University Archives.

“To celebrate Women’s History Month,Women and Social Movements in the United
States 1600-2000,Scholar’s Edition, will be freely accessible for the month
of March so that all librarians, students, instructors, and scholars can
explore the site’s rich collection of primary materials and teaching tools
without passwords or fees. The URL is http://wass.alexanderstreet.com.  If
your library doesn’t subscribe, do take advantage of its accessibility this
month to take a look at the resource and remind yourself about what it

WASM Scholar’s edition includes 91 document projects and archives, almost
40,000 pages of full-text sources, a separate database of 90,000 pages of
publications of federal, state, and local commissions on the status of
women, and the exclusive online edition of the research classic, Notable
American Women.”

Access the database here:  http://wass.alexanderstreet.com

Harriet Tubman Relics Head to National Museum of African American History

“For bibliophile and educator Charles Blockson, the mute, simple evidence of abolitionist Harriet Tubman’s life – photographs, dinner utensils, hymnal – possess a personal power, a resonance that flows over decades.

He has maintained stewardship of these fragile relics for years, holding them, he says, in trust. Now the moment has come to place them before the larger world.

Today, Blockson will transfer his collection of 39 Tubman artifacts to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, expected to open in Washington in 2015, and Rep. Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.) will host a presentation honoring the gift and the donor at the Longworth House Office Building….”

Read the rest Harriet Tubman relics to go to D.C. museum | Philadelphia Inquirer

Preserving Manuscripts in Timbuktu (CSM)

“Ahmed Saloum Boularaf is holding a leather-bound sheaf of documents that date back to the 13th century. The manuscript contains a poetic rendition of the life of the Prophet Mohammad, written in the lacy Arabic handwriting of an African scholar who knew how to read before some Europeans even knew of the existence of books.

Like most of the 1,700 manuscripts in Mr. Boularaf’s private collection – which includes ancient books on medicine and history, astronomy and mathematics — this one is beginning to crumble, and Boularaf knows that in a very short time, his manuscripts and the knowledge they contain, could be lost forever.

“For Africans, this is a treasury of our culture, and my home is open for all the researchers of the world to come,” he says. “My grandfather had the idea that we must copy these manuscripts before they are lost. We have some manuscripts here that are so fragile that if we don’t do something quickly to study them, conserve them, they could be lost.””

Read rest: In Timbuktu, a race to preserve Africa’s written history / The Christian Science Monitor

Ayiti Kraze / Haiti in Fragments Social Text)

“For some, Haiti is the “poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere,” a “failed state,” long on the brink of collapse. For others, Haiti is a beacon of freedom, evidence of the only successful slave revolt in modern history. This forum brings together scholars from different fields of study, and different parts of the world, for a conversation about ways to think about challenges that Haiti has faced since independence, challenges that have been international in scope since this sovereign nation’s sudden and unexpected debut on the world’s stage. Thus besides considering Haiti’s vexed political history and pressing social problems, we are concerned with the way prevailing forms of diplomatic recognition and patterns of international exchange have served to worsen, rather than improve, social institutions and their capacity to serve the people of Haiti.

The title of this forum — Ayiti kraze — stems from a Kreyol expression that often surfaces in moments when political institutions splinter apart (as when Jean-Bertrand Arisitide was ousted in 1991 during a coup d’état). But, the idea of Haiti in fragments also suits this effort to piece together critical insights concerning this tragic predicament. The catastrophic events of January 12, 2010 have already transformed the way many researchers relate to their work. Scholars who typically take years to develop articles and books have organized symposia and published essays in a matter of days – this forum is but one example. We hope this critical practice will endure long after Haiti is re-built. — Michael Ralph, editor”

Read the rest: Social Text: Periscope: Ayiti Kraze / Haiti in Fragments Archives.

Film on Slavery Follows New England Family

“Newton resident James DeWolf Perry had heard stories from his family’s distant past, but until he started work on a film about slavery he never knew the full extent of a certain ancestor’s business dealings.

Perry is a direct descendent of James DeWolf, a Rhode Island senator and a slave trader. Dewolf brought over more enslaved Africans than any other person in American History, said Perry.

“It was obviously very difficult,” Perry said about learning the extent of his ancestor’s involvement in the slave trade. “The feelings I felt were grief and sorrow. More than anything else I felt, we as Americans, have a responsibility.”

Perry, along with 10 Americans who are descendants of DeWolf, are featured in “Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North.”

The film, which follows the family as it confronts its legacy as a slave-trading dynasty, will be presented at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 11, at Boston College Law School. Perry, who was the principle historical consultant for the film, will lead a discussion afterwards….”

Read the rest: Film on slavery follows New England family – Boston.com.

NYT on Henry “Box” Brown’s Escape from U.S. Slavery

“The box that arrived in Philadelphia that day was the plain-looking sort typically used to transport dry goods. Just over 3 feet long, it was 2 feet 8 inches deep and not quite 2 feet wide. Written on the side were the words “this side up with care.’

’Safe to say, the recipient of the box was not fully prepared for what was inside: a 200-pound man named Henry Brown.

As an African-American living in the South, Mr. Brown was a slave when he left Virginia on March 23, 1849, concealed in the box he had designed for this purpose.

When he arrived in Pennsylvania a day later, by express mail, he was a free man….”

via When Special Delivery Meant Deliverance for a Fugitive Slave – City Room Blog – NYTimes.com.

WEB: The Public Archive


“Given the incredible loss of life as a result of the January 12, 2010 earthquake in the Republic of Haiti, it may appear frivolous to turn to history – but history, too, has been a casualty of this disaster. In the reporting on the earthquake and the relief operations, Haiti’s history has been contorted by cliché, smudged by misrepresentation, or not represented at all. The country and its citizens have been rendered history-less, and its historic significance in the region and the world made invisible….

The Public Archive will serve as an accessible clearinghouse of historical and archival sources for the Vanderbilt University community and the public at large. It will draw on the expertise of the Vanderbilt faculty to gather and collate information available, if not always accessible, to the general public. It will link to online historical and archival sources, contemporary journalism, and bibliographies, and will be updated according to current developments.”

via About: The Public Archive

WEB: Katherine Dunham at LOC

“Katherine Dunham was an American dancer-choreographer who was best known for incorporating African American, Caribbean, African, and South American movement styles and themes into her ballets. The Katherine Dunham Collection at the Library of Congress consists of moving image materials that document the extraordinary journey of a woman who changed the face of American modern dance.”

Selected materials available at the Library of Congress website: Women’s History Month: Katherine Dunham « In the Muse.

Through Russwurm’s Eyes: ‘The Conditions and Prospects of Haiti’

“May we not indulge in the pleasing hope, that the independence of Haiti has laid the foundation of an empire that will take rank with the nations of the earth — that a country, the local situation of which is favorable to trade and commercial enterprise, possessing a free and well-regulated government, which encourages the useful and liberal arts, a country containing an enterprising and growing population which is determined to live free or die gloriously will advance rapidly in all the arts of civilization….”

via Through Russwurm’s Eyes: ‘The Conditions and Prospects of Haiti’ (Bowdoin).

1826 full text below via Quintard Taylor’s BlackPast.org:

The changes which take place in the affairs of this world show the instability of sublunary things. Empires rise and fall, flourish and decay. Knowledge follows revolutions and travels over the globe. Man alone remains the same being, whether placed under the torrid suns of Africa or in the more congenial temperate zone. A principle of liberty is implanted in his breast, and all efforts to stifle it are as fruitless as would be the attempt to extinguish the fires of Etna.

It is in the irresistible course of events that all men who have been deprived of their liberty shall recover this precious portion of their indefeasible inheritance. It is in vain to stem the current; degraded man will rise in his native majesty and claim his rights. They may be withheld from him now, but the day will arrive when they must be surrendered.

Among the many interesting events of the present day, and illustrative of this, the Revolution in Haiti holds a conspicuous place. The former political condition of Haiti we all doubtless know. After years of sanguinary struggle for freedom and a political existence, the Haitians on the auspicious day of January first, 1804, declared themselves a free and independent nation. Nothing can ever induce them to recede from this declaration. They know too well by their past misfortunes, by their wounds, which are yet bleeding, that security can be expected only from within themselves. Rather would they devote themselves to death than return to their former condition.

Can we conceive of anything which can cheer the desponding spirit, can reanimate and stimulate it to put everything to the hazard? Liberty can do this. Such were its effects upon the Haitians—men who in slavery showed neither spirit nor genius: but when Liberty, when once Freedom struck their astonished ears, they became new creatures, stepped forth as men, and showed to the world, that though slavery may benumb, it cannot entirely destroy our faculties. Such men were Toussaint L’Ouverture, Desalines and Christophe!

The Haitians have adopted the republican form of government; and so firmly it is established that n no country are the rights and privileges of citizens and foreigners more respected, and crimes less frequent. They are a brave and generous people. If cruelties were inflicted during the revolutionary war, it was owing to the policy pursued by the French commanders, which compelled them to use retaliatory measures. For who shall expostulate with men who have been hunted with bloodhounds, who have been threatened with and auto-de-fé, whose relations and friends have been hanged on gibbets before their eyes, have been sunk by hundreds in the sea—and tell them they ought to exercise kindness toward such mortal enemies? Remind me not of moral duties, of meekness and generosity. Show me the man who has exercised them under these trials, and you point to one who is more than human. It is an undisputed fact, that more than sixteen thousand Haitians perished in the modes above specified. The cruelties inflicted by the French on the children of Haiti have exceeded the crimes of Cortes and Pizarro.

Thirty-two years of their independence, so gloriously achieved, have effected wonders. No longer are they the same people. They had faculties, yet were these faculties oppressed under the load of servitude and ignorance. With a countenance erect and fixed upon Heaven, they can now contemplate the works of divine munificence. Restored to the dignity of man to society, they have acquired a new existence; their powers have been developed; a career of glory and happiness unfolds itself before them.

The Haitian government has arisen in the neighborhood of European settlements. Do the public proceedings and detail of its government bespeak an inferiority? Their state papers are distinguished from those of many European courts only by their superior energy and nonexalted sentiments; and while the manners and politics of Boyer emulate those of his republican neighbors, the court of Christophe had almost as much foppery, almost as many lords and ladies of the bedchamber, and almost as great a proportion of stars and ribbons and gilded chariots as those of his brother potentates in any part of the world.

(Placed by divine providence amid circumstances more favorable than were their ancestors, the Haitians can more easily than they, make rapid strides in the career of civilization—they can demonstrate that although the God of nature may have given them a darker complexion, still they are men alike sensible to all the miseries of slavery and to all the blessings of freedom.)

May we not indulge in the pleasing hope, that the independence of Haiti has laid the foundation of an empire that will take rank with the nations of the earth—that a country, the local situation of which is favorable to trade and commercial enterprise, possessing a free and well-regulated government, which encourages the useful and liberal arts, a country containing an enterprising and growing population which is determined to live free or die gloriously will advance rapidly in all the arts of civilization.

We look forward with peculiar satisfaction to the period when, like Tyre of old, her vessels shall extend the fame of her riches and glory, to the remotest borders of the globe—to the time when Haiti treading in the footsteps of her republics, shall, like them, exhibit a picture of rapid and unprecedented advance in population, wealth and intelligence.”

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