slavery

Here’s a rather obscure name from American history: Billy Lee. He was George Washington’s valet. There’s also Alfred Jackson. He was a faithful servant of Andrew Jackson. The two names you do know have something in common, they were US Presidents. The other two men also have something in common, they were slaves.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we open up the door to history class and talk about the complicated early history of the US…and the people who lived in the shadow of liberty.

We’ll also spend an academic minute passing the buck.


  Charles Dew, one of America’s most respected historians of the South, will tell us about his powerful memoir - The Making of a Racist: A Southerner Reflects on Family, History, and the Slave Trade.

He turns the focus on his own life, which began not in the halls of enlightenment but in a society unequivocally committed to segregation.

 

In the book, Dew re-creates the mid-century American South of his childhood--in many respects a boy’s paradise, but one stained by Lost Cause revisionism and, worse, by the full brunt of Jim Crow.

 

The second half of the book shows how this former Confederate youth and descendant of Thomas Roderick Dew, one of slavery’s most passionate apologists, went on to reject his racist upbringing and become a scholar of the South and its deeply conflicted history.

 

The centerpiece of Dew’s story is his sobering discovery of a price

Charles Dew is Ephraim Williams Professor of American History at Williams College and the author of the Fletcher Pratt Award-winning Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War and Bond of Iron: Master and Slave at Buffalo Forge, selected as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

Did you know that many of America’s Founding Fathers― who fought for liberty and justice for all ― were slave owners?

Through the powerful stories of five enslaved people who were “owned” by four of our greatest presidents, Kenneth Davis’ new book, In the Shadow of Liberty, helps set the record straight about the role slavery played in the founding of America.

From Billy Lee, valet to George Washington, to Alfred Jackson, faithful servant of Andrew Jackson, these dramatic narratives explore our country’s great tragedy―that a nation “conceived in liberty” was also born in shackles.

Kenneth C. Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of America’s Hidden History and Don’t Know Much About History, which gave rise to the "Don’t Know Much About" series of books for adults and children. 

The founder of the Slave Dwelling Project will spend Friday night in an ancient cellar of a house on Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz. His mission is to bring awareness to the existence of former slave dwellings, their history and need for preservation. In this case, he also aims to shine a light on Northern slave ownership.

    In our Ideas Matter segment we take time just about every week to check in with the state humanities councils in our 7-state region.

Today we learn about Reading Frederick Douglass, a statewide initiative led by Mass Humanities. Communities and organizations around the state typically organize public readings of Douglass' speech, "What is the Meaning of the Fourth of July to the Negro." We are joined today by Manisha Sinha, Professor of Afro-American Studies at University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Rose Sackey-Milligan, Program Officer at Mass Humanities. With them we explore the value of the humanities in enhancing and improving civic life.

A History Of Abolition

Feb 26, 2016

  In celebration of Black History Month there is a new book by a University of Massachusetts professor that overturns long-held assumptions about the abolitionist movement. The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition is by Manisha Sinha, published by Yale University Press.

Sinha shows that rather than being composed of white, bourgeois, racially paternalistic reformers, abolitionism was a radical movement of women and men, black and white, slave and free who supported feminism, labor rights and utopian socialism.

Relying on extensive archival research and newly discovered materials, The Slave’s Cause explores the influence on abolition of the Haitian Revolution and slave resistance.

  In The Black Calhouns, Gail Lumet Buckley—daughter of actress Lena Horne—delves deep into her family history, detailing the experiences of an extraordinary African-American family from Civil War to Civil Rights.

Beginning with her great-great grandfather Moses Calhoun, a house slave who used the rare advantage of his education to become a successful businessman in post-war Atlanta, Buckley follows her family’s two branches: one that stayed in the South, and the other that settled in Brooklyn. 

The Amistad is a replica of a 19th century slave ship seized by African captives is a symbol of America's early anti-slavery movement. It is docked in Connecticut.
wikipedia commons

Many people don't realize that slavery was widespread across the Americas, even in what is now the Northeastern U.S.

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

Over the Columbus Day holiday some local schoolgirls opted not to take a day off. They came away from a workshop having learned the most important lesson of their lives.

alh1/flickr

The skeletal remains of more than a dozen 18th-century African-American slaves unearthed in upstate New York a decade ago will be reburied.

New York is one of five states with the highest number of documented cases of human trafficking.

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery, a crime against humanity: the world’s second largest criminal industry in 2014, second only to drug trafficking.

  Historian Edward Baptist reveals in The Half Has Never Been Told that slavery and its expansion were central to the evolution and modernization of our nation in the 18th and 19th centuries, catapulting the US into a modern, industrial and capitalist economy. 

  We are very happy to continue our weekly feature on The Roundtable entitled – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities. It is our chance to check in with the Humanities Councils throughout our 7-State area to discuss important ideas and why they do indeed matter.

Today we’ll speak with MASS Humanites about their Reading Frederick Douglass project.

We welcome Pleun Bouricius, Director of Grants and Programs, Mass Humanities and David Harris, Managing Director of the Charles Hamilton Houseton Institute for Race and Equality at Harvard Law School.

Thomas Wanhoff/Flickr

Trafficking victims have told their stories to New York lawmakers Tuesday at the Capitol to encourage them to pass legislation strengthening criminal penalties for forcing someone into sexual servitude.

One 18-year-old New York City woman told how she was kidnapped at age nine, sold into sexual slavery and forced to sleep in a locked closet. She says the bill would crack down on trafficking while making it easier for victims to get help.

    

  This Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (April 11 – 13), The Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region will present their 13th Public History Conference. This year’s conference is entitled Slavery and the Underground Railroad: the Larger Context, the Lingering Legacy and is co-sponsored by Russell Sage College, The Department of History and Society at Russell Sage College, and the Rensselaer County Historical Society.

Here now to tell us all about it are Brea Barthel, a co-coordinator of the Conference, and Professor at SUNY Albany and RPI and Paul Stewart, Scholar in Residence at Russell Sage College and co-founder of the Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region.

A couple from New York is  under arrest out west on human trafficking charges. A Utah newspaper reports Tara Pinnock of Albany, was arrested Monday for investigation of human trafficking along with  26 year old Jean Joseph, of Valley Stream, the couple was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of human trafficking, kidnapping, aggravated assault and rape. Police believe Joseph kidnapped a 23-year-old woman in New York City about

    In The Invention of Wings, Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid.

    This morning in our Ideas Matter segment, we spotlight New York Humanities and discuss Anne Northup, Slavery, and the Birth of American Cuisine.

12 Years a Slave, which just won the Oscar for Best Picture, tells the story of Solomon Northup who was kidnapped from upstate New York and sold into slavery. Told from his point of view, the movie doesn't tell what happened to his family while he was gone. This week we'll learn about his wife Anne, who worked as a cook at the Morris-Jumel House in New York City.

Our guests are: Carol Ward, Executive Director of Morris-Jumel House and Emilie Gruchow, Archivist at Morris-Jumel House.

    A 2006 report commissioned by Brown University revealed that institution’s complex and contested involvement in slavery—setting off a controversy that leapt from the ivory tower to make headlines across the country.

But Brown’s troubling past was far from unique. In Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities, Craig Steven Wilder, a rising star in the profession of history, lays bare uncomfortable truths about race, slavery, and the American academy.

Rob Edelman: Truth In Advertising

Oct 28, 2013

Reviewer Rob Edelman takes a look at the history of slavery in cinema upon the release of 12 Years A Slave...

For sure, 12 Years A Slave is one of the best films not just of the season but of the year. However, there is one point about the subject matter explored in the film that deserves to be challenged. At the start of the Toronto Film Festival press conference for 12 Years A Slave, the film’s director, Steve McQueen, casually observed that the subject of slavery “hasn’t been given a platform in cinema.” Well, this simply is not so.

Solomon Northup was a free man who was lured from his home in Saratoga and kidnapped into slavery in 1841. His life is the subject of the upcoming film, 12 Years A Slave which opens at The Spectrum Theatre in Albany this Friday.

The new biography, Solomon Northup: The Complete Story of the Author of Twelve Years A Slave provides a compelling chronological narrative of Northup's entire life, from his birth in an isolated settlement in upstate New York to the activities he pursued after his release from slavery.

The biography was written by Clifford Brown, a political science professor at Union College in Schenectady, Rachel Seligman, former head of Union’s gallery (she now works at the Tang at Skidmore College); and David Friske, former librarian for the state.

UAlbany

According to the U.S. State Department, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year. More than 70 percent are female and half are children.  Albany played host to a conference on human trafficking Wednesday.

The event at the University at Albany’s downtown Milne Hall was co-hosted by the college's School of Social Welfare and the State Office of Children and Family Services. Its purpose: to raise awareness about human trafficking and increase knowledge among students and community members.

globalhopenetwork.org

As the close of New York's legislative session draws near, advocates are pressing for passage of more effective anti-human trafficking legislation.  If you search "New York Sex Trafficking" on Google news, you'll find more than 12,000 recent articles. Awareness of the problem has resulted in the growth of public concern.

    In Tara Conklin's debut novel, The House Girl: A Novel, two remarkable women, separated by more than a century, live lives that unexpectedly intertwine.

2004: Lina Sparrow is an ambitious young lawyer working on a historic class-action lawsuit seeking reparations for the descendants of American slaves.

1852: Josephine is a seventeen-year-old house slave who tends to the mistress of a Virginia tobacco farm—an aspiring artist named Lu Anne Bell.

Underground Railroad: Escape to Freedom is a book + audio + boardgame for children. The book and audio were researched and recorded on location following routes of the UGRR.

With action and adventure as key elements, the experiential boardgame uses UGRR lore, nature signs, survival skills, and African-American spirituals (now known to be secret codes) to engage children in history, foster understanding, and sharpen critical thinking skills.