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History is CENTRAL The Amistad, Slavery, and Abolition in American History.

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Presentation on theme: "History is CENTRAL The Amistad, Slavery, and Abolition in American History."— Presentation transcript:

1 History is CENTRAL The Amistad, Slavery, and Abolition in American History

2 Opening Discussion on Slavery and Abolition in American History “Simply put, American history cannot be understood without slavery.” Ira Berlin

3 Changing Interpretations: Slavery Slavery vs. Enslavement Eurocentric and Afrocentric perspectives Looking beyond American history to the wider Atlantic world The role of the American North, especially New England

4 Changing Interpretations: Abolition Abolition vs. antislavery Role of African American abolitionists Connections to the Civil War Reinterpretation of emancipation

5 The Amistad Story Brief outline Strengths & Weaknesses  Connects to major themes in study of slavery and abolition with two important exceptions  Strong and available documentary record  Provides an opening for students to probe difficult issues (e.g., what is the Amistad story “really” about?)

6 The Amistad as a Civil Rights Symbol James Monroe Whitfield, poet (1853) Hale Woodruff Murals (1939) Steven Spielberg’s Amistad (1997)

7 James Monroe Whitfield, To Cinque (1853) To Cinque All hail! thou truly noble chief, Who scorned to live a cowering slave; Thy name shall stand on history's leaf, Amid the mighty and the brave: Thy name shall shine, a glorious light To other brave and fearless men, Who, like thyself, in freedom's might, Shall beard the robber in his den. Thy name shall stand on history's page, And brighter, brighter, brighter grow, Throughout all time, through every age, Till bosoms cease to feel or know "Created worth, or human woe." Thy name shall nerve the patriot's hand When, 'mid the battle's deadly strife, The glittering bayonet and brand Are crimsoned with the stream of life: When the dark clouds of battle roll, And slaughter reigns without control, Thy name shall then fresh life impart, And fire anew each freeman's heart. Though wealth and power their force combine To crush thy noble spirit down, There is above a power divine Shall bear thee up against their frown. Source: Exploring Amistad at Mystic Seaport

8 Hale Woodruff Muralist, landscape painter, and woodblock artist born in Illinois in Died in Taught at Atlanta University and later NYU. In addition to Amistad murals, produced numerous images of black life in the American South.

9 Hale Woodruff – Mutiny (1939)

10 Hale Woodruff – Return (1939)

11 Steven Spielberg Amistad (1997)

12 Available Documentary Sources, Part I Early American Imprints (a.k.a. Evans), available through CCSU Documenting the American South Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill American Memory Collection at the Library of Congress  African American Pamphlets  Frederick Douglass Papers  Voices from the Days of Slavery  Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project

13 Available Documentary Sources, Part II Women and Social Movements in the United States, SUNY-Binghamton and Alexander Street Press, available through CCSU  How Did Abolitionist Women and Their Slaveholding Relatives Negotiate Their Conflict over the Issue of Slavery? (Document Project)  How Did Lucretia Mott Combine Her Commitments to Antislavery and Women's Rights, ? (Document Project)  Proceedings of the Anti-slavery Convention of American Women ( ) Exploring Amistad at Mystic Seaport Teaching with Documents: The Amistad Case, National Archives and Records Administration

14 John Woolman Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes (1754) Born in 1720 to a New Jersey Quaker family. Died Woolman’s Some Considerations credited with mobilizing Quakers against slaveholding amongst their own.

15 Other Titles from Early American Imprints

16 David Walker Appeal in Four Articles (1830) Born 1785 in North Carolina to an enslaved father and free mother. Died Moved to Boston where he first published his Appeal in The Appeal declared that American wealth derived from African “blood and tears” and advocated violent resistance to slavery.

17 Other Material from Documenting the American South

18 American Memory Collection

19 Women and Social Movements in the United States How Did Abolitionist Women and Their Slaveholding Relatives Negotiate Their Conflict over the Issue of Slavery?

20 Exploring Amistad at Mystic Seaport

21 Teaching with Documents: The Amistad Case


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