Review: Atlantic Families, Race, and Empire

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United Kingdom on 2018-04-20 00:53Z by Steven

Review: Atlantic Families, Race, and Empire

The Junto: A Group Blog on Early American History
2018-04-19

Casey Schmitt, Ph.D. Candidate in early American history
College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia

Daniel Livesay, Children of Uncertain Fortune: Mixed-Race Jamaicans in Britain and the Atlantic Family, 1733-1833 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, 2018).

A central thread running through Daniel Livesay’s Children of Uncertain Fortune is deceptively simple: Atlantic families structured the development of ideologies surrounding race in the British empire during the long eighteenth century.1 Woven through the book, however, is a richly nuanced exploration of what terms like Atlantic, family, race, and empire meant and how understandings of those terms changed over a pivotal hundred-year period starting in the 1730s. Through institutional records and family papers produced on both sides of the Atlantic, Livesay identifies 360 mixed-race people from Jamaica and traces the lived experiences of a handful of them as they navigated their social and economic position within transatlantic kin networks. Those individual narratives reveal how Britons experienced empire through family ties in ways that shaped their perceptions of race, colonialism, and belonging…

Read the entire review here.

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Slavery Unseen: Sex, Power, and Violence in Brazilian History

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Gay & Lesbian, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery on 2018-04-10 02:50Z by Steven

Slavery Unseen: Sex, Power, and Violence in Brazilian History

Duke University Press
2018-04-06
272 pages
9 illustrations
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-7116-8
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-7129-8

Lamonte Aidoo, Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of Romance Studies
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

In Slavery Unseen, Lamonte Aidoo upends the narrative of Brazil as a racial democracy, showing how the myth of racial democracy elides the history of sexual violence, patriarchal terror, and exploitation of slaves. Drawing on sources ranging from inquisition trial documents to travel accounts and literature, Aidoo demonstrates how interracial and same-sex sexual violence operated as a key mechanism of the production and perpetuation of slavery as well as racial and gender inequality. The myth of racial democracy, Aidoo contends, does not stem from or reflect racial progress; rather, it is an antiblack apparatus that upholds and protects the heteronormative white patriarchy throughout Brazil’s past and on into the present.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction. Secrets, Silences, and Sexual Erasures in Brazilian Slavery and History
  • 1. The Racial and Sexual Paradoxes of Brazilian Slavery and National Identity
  • 2. Illegible Violence: The Rape and Sexual Abuse of Male Slaves
  • 3. The White Mistress and the Slave Woman: Seduction, Violence, and Exploitation
  • 4. Social Whiteness: Black Intraracial Violence and the Boundaries of Black Freedom
  • 5. O Diabo Preto (The Negro Devil): The Myth of the Black Homosexual Predator in the Age of Social Hygiene
  • Afterword. Seeing the Unseen: The Life and Afterlives of Ch/Xica da Silva
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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People of Mixed Ancestry in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake: Freedom, Bondage, and the Rise of Hypodescent Ideology

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2018-04-05 02:58Z by Steven

People of Mixed Ancestry in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake: Freedom, Bondage, and the Rise of Hypodescent Ideology

Journal of Social History
Published: 2017-10-17
DOI: 10.1093/jsh/shx113

A. B. Wilkinson, Assistant Professor of History
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

This article examines the origins of mixed-race ideologies and people of mixed African, European, and Native American ancestry—commonly identified as mulattoes—in the seventeenth-century English colonial Chesapeake and wider Atlantic world. Arguably, for the better part of the century, English colonial societies in the Chesapeake resembled Latin America and other Atlantic island colonies in allowing a relatively flexible social hierarchy, in which certain mixed-heritage people benefitted from their European lineage. Chesapeake authorities began to slowly set their provinces apart from their English colonial counterparts in the 1660s, when they enacted laws to deter intimate intermixture between Europeans and other ethnoracial groups and set policies that punished mixed-heritage children. Colonial officials attempted to use the legal system to restrict people of mixed ancestry, Africans, and Native Americans in bondage. These efforts supported the ideology of hypodescent, where children of mixed lineage are relegated more closely to the position of their socially inferior parentage. However, from the 1660s through the 1680s, these laws were unevenly enforced, and mixture increased with the growth of African slaves imported into the region. While many mulattoes were enslaved during this period, others were able to rely on their European heritage or racial whiteness. This allowed them to gain or maintain freedom for themselves and their families, before Virginia and Maryland institutionalized greater restrictions in the 1690s.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

Posted in Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Slavery, United States on 2018-04-04 20:20Z by Steven

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

Simon & Schuster
2018-10-02
864 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9781416590316

David W. Blight, Class of 1954 Professor of American History; Professor of African-American and American Studies; Director, Gilder Lehrman Center
Yale University

The definitive, dramatic biography of the most important African-American of the nineteenth century: Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became the greatest orator of his day and one of the leading abolitionists and writers of the era.

As a young man Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) escaped from slavery in Baltimore, Maryland. He was fortunate to have been taught to read by his slave owner mistress, and he would go on to become one of the major literary figures of his time. He wrote three versions of his autobiography over the course of his lifetime and published his own newspaper. His very existence gave the lie to slave owners: with dignity and great intelligence he bore witness to the brutality of slavery.

Initially mentored by William Lloyd Garrison, Douglass spoke widely, often to large crowds, using his own story to condemn slavery. He broke with Garrison to become a political abolitionist, a Republican, and eventually a Lincoln supporter. By the Civil War and during Reconstruction, Douglass became the most famed and widely travelled orator in the nation. He denounced the premature end of Reconstruction and the emerging Jim Crow era. In his unique and eloquent voice, written and spoken, Douglass was a fierce critic of the United States as well as a radical patriot. He sometimes argued politically with younger African-Americans, but he never forsook either the Republican party or the cause of black civil and political rights.

In this remarkable biography, David Blight has drawn on new information held in a private collection that few other historian have consulted, as well as recently discovered issues of Douglass’s newspapers. Blight tells the fascinating story of Douglass’s two marriages and his complex extended family. Douglass was not only an astonishing man of words, but a thinker steeped in Biblical story and theology. There has not been a major biography of Douglass in a quarter century. David Blight’s Frederick Douglass affords this important American the distinguished biography he deserves.

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Lesec, from Brave Mulato into Blackness?: Defection to France and Spanish Racial Regression

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery on 2018-04-04 02:33Z by Steven

Lesec, from Brave Mulato into Blackness?: Defection to France and Spanish Racial Regression

Age of Revolutions
2018-04-02

Charlton W. Yingling, Assistant Professor of History
University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky


“El ciudadano Hedouville habla al mentor de los negros…,” Jean-Louis Dubroca, Vida de J. J. Dessalines, gefe de los Negros de Santo Domingo (Mexico, 1806), University of Virginia Slavery Images Database, JCB_67-270-3. This well-known image is cropped to draw attention away from the figures’ faces and to their façades.

In May 1794, Governor Joaquín García of Spanish Santo Domingo (present-day Dominican Republic) praised the “brave spirit” of “Carlos Gabriel Lesec, mulato,” a term denoting European and African heritage. As an officer in Spain’s Black Auxiliaries, Lesec had just repulsed troops of the French Republic in a resounding victory at Santa Susana on the border with Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti). As the third anniversary of the Haitian Revolution approached, thousands of ex-slaves had expanded their liberatory war under Spanish flags and occupied nearly half of Saint-Domingue.[1] These “Black Auxiliaries” of Spain enjoyed limited manumissions and material support in their war against the French, their former exploiters. Their leaders, Jean-François and Georges Biassou, represented some of the earliest participants in the initial slave revolts of 1791. Those who ascended later, such as Toussaint Louverture and his officer Charles Lesec, seized a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at upward mobility by punishing their former French oppressors. Despite these victories, García was dismayed by the “disunion that reigns between the black chiefs Biassou and Toussaint,” who along with Jean-François were Lesec’s superiors.[2] Six months earlier French commissioner Léger-Félicité Sonthonax had begun tactical, practical emancipations, in part to attract black supporters due to desperation over his opponents’ successes…

Read the entire article here.

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A Dark Inheritance: Blood, Race, and Sex in Colonial Jamaica

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Slavery, United Kingdom on 2018-03-27 02:05Z by Steven

A Dark Inheritance: Blood, Race, and Sex in Colonial Jamaica

Yale University Press
2018-08-28
352 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4
25 b/w illus.
Hardcover ISBN: 9780300225556

Brooke N. Newman, Associate Professor of History; Associate Director of the Humanities Research Center
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia

Focusing on Jamaica, Britain’s most valuable colony in the Americas by the mid-eighteenth century, Brooke Newman explores the relationship between racial classifications and the inherited rights and privileges associated with British subject status. Weaving together a diverse range of sources, she shows how colonial racial ideologies rooted in fictions of blood ancestry at once justified permanent, hereditary slavery for Africans and barred members of certain marginalized groups from laying claim to British liberties on the basis of hereditary status.

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Race, or The Last Colonial Struggle in Latin America

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery on 2018-03-18 01:10Z by Steven

Race, or The Last Colonial Struggle in Latin America

Age of Revolutions
2018-03-12

Jason McGraw, Associate Professor of History
Indiana University, Bloomington


Simón Bolívar emancipa los esclavos de Colombia [Simón Bolívar Frees the Slaves of Colombia], Luis Cancino Fernández, Venezuela, 19th century.

Latin America has long captivated outsiders for its seeming absence of a black-white racial binary, fluidity in racial self-ascriptions, and racially-mixed populations. Latin American elites, for their part, willingly adopted this sense of exceptionalism, and for much of the twentieth century the region gained a reputation as home to so-called racial democracies.1 Yet over the last 30 years, scholars and activists have documented the region’s pervasive anti-black and anti-Indian sentiments and its lack of social mobility for people of African or indigenous descent. Societies once heralded as racially democratic are now exposed for their rampant racist exclusions and inequality, which are often accompanied by fervent disavowals of racism.2

Even as challenges to the myth of racial democracy deserve plaudits, they have arrived with some of their own blinkered assumptions. Like earlier pro-racial democracy polemics, recent critical antiracist scholarship often relies on static notions of culture and ahistorical understandings of Latin America. But what would happen if we pushed back the timeline and examined politics, as well as culture? How would our understanding of Latin America’s racial orders change if we looked at its nineteenth-century revolutionary upheavals?3

Because I can’t cover the entire region or the last two centuries in this blog post, I’ll focus on Colombia, the country I have studied most closely, and on important turning points in the nineteenth-century politics of race. What I hope becomes clear is that both the older myth of racial democracy and increasingly acknowledged racial inequality, each perceived in its own way as an unchanging truth, owe something of their existence to nineteenth-century revolutionary struggles…

Read the entire article here.

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The Escape; Or, A Leap for Freedom

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Slavery, United States on 2018-03-16 01:58Z by Steven

The Escape; Or, A Leap for Freedom

University of Tennessee Press
2001-03-21
112 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1572331051
(Originally published in 1858)

William Wells Brown (1814-1884)

Edited by:

John Ernest, Judge Hugh M. Morris Professor of English
University of New Hampshire

A well-known nineteenth-century abolitionist and former slave, William Wells Brown was a prolific writer and lecturer who captivated audiences with readings of his drama The Escape; or, a Leap for Freedom (1858). The first published play by an African American writer, The Escape explored the complexities of American culture at a time when tensions between North and South were about to explode into the Civil War. This new volume presents the first-edition text of Brown’s play and features an extensive introduction that establishes the work’s continuing significance.

The Escape centers on the attempted sexual violation of a slave and involves many characters of mixed race, through which Brown commented on such themes as moral decay, white racism, and black self-determination. Rich in action and faithful in dialect, it raises issues relating not only to race but also to gender by including concepts of black and white masculinity and the culture of southern white and enslaved women. It portrays a world in which slavery provided a convenient means of distinguishing between the white North and the white South, allowing northerners to express moral sentiments without recognizing or addressing the racial prejudice pervasive among whites in both regions.

John Ernest’s introductory essay balances the play’s historical and literary contexts, including information on Brown and his career, as well as on slavery, abolitionism, and sectional politics. It also discusses the legends and realities of the Underground Railroad, examines the role of antebellum performance art—including blackface minstrelsy and stage versions of Uncle Tom’s Cabin—in the construction of race and national identity, and provides an introduction to theories of identity as performance.

A century and a half after its initial appearance, The Escape remains essential reading for students of African American literature. Ernest’s keen analysis of this classic play will enrich readers’ appreciation of both the drama itself and the era in which it appeared.

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On prejudice

Posted in Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Philosophy, Slavery on 2018-03-06 01:27Z by Steven

On prejudice

Aeon
2018-03-05

Blake Smith, Postdoctoral Fellow
European University Institute, Florence, Italy


Famille Métisse (1775) by Marius-Pierre le Masurier. Photo courtesy Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac/RMN

An 18th-century creole slaveholder invented the idea of ‘racial prejudice’ to defend diversity among a slave-owning elite

n 1791, Julien Raimond published one of the first critiques of racial prejudice. Raimond was a free man of racially mixed ancestry from the French colony of Saint-Domingue (today the country of Haiti), and his essay ‘Observations on the Origin and Progress of White People’s Prejudice against People of Colour’ argued that legal discrimination against people of African origin resulted from psychological biases. Raimond’s work was the first sustained account of how racial prejudice operates – and how it might be eliminated. Today, the idea that unconscious biases permeate individual psychology, prompting discriminatory behaviours and perpetuating social inequality, is central to discussions of race in politics, academia and everyday life. But this idea was the product of a specific 18th-century moment, with surprising and troubling motivations behind it.

Raimond was an activist for the rights of people of colour. In 1789, he left his home in Saint-Domingue just before the outbreak of the French Revolution. He went to Paris to lobby the government to grant equal status to free people of African origin. In Paris, Raimond joined a circle of radical thinkers and politicians who believed that racial equality had to be part of the emerging Revolution. But Raimond was no opponent of slavery. On the contrary, while his allies argued for its abolition, Raimond insisted that racial equality and abolition of slavery had nothing to do with each other. The first page of his treatise claimed that a cabal of ‘white plantation-owners … have cleverly conflated the cause of people of colour with that of slaves’. Raimond, in fact, wanted to preserve slavery. He believed that eliminating racial prejudice would bring white and non-white slave-owners together in a united front against enslaved Africans. He drew on the pro-slavery arguments of white plantation-owners. Raimond’s idea that there is such a thing as ‘racial prejudice’ and that discrimination is rooted in this psychological phenomenon originated in these plantation-owners’ defences of slavery.

Raimond’s ideas strike many present-day readers as bizarre and hypocritical. After all, he pioneered modern critiques of racial prejudice while also defending slavery. Most people today presume that racism led to slavery, and that slavery and racism were practically synonymous. But in the 18th century, this was not so clearly the case. From Raimond’s perspective, as an 18th-century creole slave-owner, slavery and racism were distinct, and it seemed urgent to disentangle them. Slavery, after all, had existed for thousands of years, while modern racial discrimination, Raimond held, was something recent, contingent and reformable. Like many thinkers of his era (including many of the United States’ Founding Fathers), Raimond saw the world divided between an elite of propertied men and a servile mass of labourers. He saw that the power of a tiny elite would be more resilient if the privileged included people of different colours…

Read the entire article here.

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Iola Leroy or, Shadows Uplifted

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Slavery, United States, Women on 2018-03-05 01:19Z by Steven

Iola Leroy or, Shadows Uplifted

Broadview Press
2018-02-28
352 pages
5½” x 8½”
Hardcover ISBN: 9781554813858 / 1554813859
(Originally published in 1892)

Frances E. W. Harper (1825-1911)

Edited by:

Koritha Mitchell, Associate Professor of English
Ohio State University

Frances Harper’s fourth novel follows the life of the beautiful, light-skinned Iola Leroy to tell the story of black families in slavery, during the Civil War, and after Emancipation. Iola Leroy adopts and adapts three genres that commanded significant audiences in the nineteenth century: the sentimental romance, the slave narrative, and plantation fiction. Written by the foremost black woman activist of the nineteenth century, the novel sheds light on the movements for abolition, public education, and voting rights through a compelling narrative.

This edition engages the latest research on Harper’s life and work and offers ways to teach these major moments in United States history by centering the experiences of African Americans. The appendices provide primary documents that help readers do what they are seldom encouraged to do: consider the experiences and perspectives of people who are not white. The Introduction traces Harper’s biography and the changing critical perspectives on the novel.

Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Frances Ellen Watkins Harper: A Brief Chronology
  • A Note on the Text
  • Iola Leroy; Or, Shadows Uplifted
  • Appendix A: Slavery, Civil War and Emancipation, Reconstruction and Its Demise
    1. From the Fugitive Slave Act (1850)
    2. United States Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney, the Dred Scott Decision (1857)
    3. From the First Confiscation Act (1861)
    4. From the Second Confiscation Act (1862)
    5. The Emancipation Proclamation (1863)
    6. From the Freedmen’s Bureau Act (1865)
    7. The Thirteenth Amendment (1865)
    8. From the Fourteenth Amendment (1868)
    9. The Fifteenth Amendment (1870)
    10. The Compromise of 1877
    11. From United States Supreme Court Justice Billings Brown, Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
  • Appendix B: Not White? Then You Can’t Be Equal
    1. From Abraham Lincoln, Address on Colonization to a Deputation of Negroes (1862)
    2. From Frances Harper, “Mrs. Frances E. Watkins Harper on the War and the President’s Colonization Scheme,” Christian Recorder (27 September 1862)
    3. From Michigan Supreme Court Justice James Campbell, The People v. Dean (1866)
  • Appendix C: Black Families in Slavery and Freedom
    1. From Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845)
    2. Dictated letters between enslaved husbands and wives while separated by their owners
    3. From “Arrest of Fugitive Slaves,” Cincinnati Gazette (29 January 1856)
    4. Frances Harper, “The Slave Mother: A Tale of Ohio” 1857)
    5. Testimony about enslaved men and women who fled slavery to join the Union effort and often planned to return to help family members escape (1863)
    6. Letter from a black soldier to his children (1864)
    7. Letter from a black soldier to the owner of one of his daughters (1864)
    8. Newspaper Notices in Hopes of Finding Lost Loved Ones after Emancipation (1866–93)
  • Appendix D: Education in Slavery and Freedom
    1. From the South Carolina Negro Act (1740)
    2. Account about an enslaved woman who ran a midnight school (1881)
    3. Account of teaching/learning in secret during slavery (1902)
    4. An account of finding the spark for learning while enslaved (1885)
    5. Accounts of the consequences of learning to read and write
    6. Account of black soldiers wanting education
    7. Account of recently emancipated people’s eagerness to learn
    8. Testimony on Ku Klux Klan preventing school attendance after Emancipation (1872)
  • Appendix E: Preventing Freedom Even after Emancipation
    1. Laws constraining black girls and boys via apprenticeship and African Americans of every age via vagrancy statutes (1865)
    2. Testimony about Ku Klux Klan raping black women whose husbands/fathers voted (1871)
    3. From Henry W. Grady, “The Race Problem in the South” (1889)
    4. From Ida B. Wells, The Red Record: Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynching in the United States (1895)
  • Appendix F: Black Women’s Activism
    1. From Frances Harper, “We Are All Bound Up Together” (1866)
    2. Frances Harper, “Aunt Chloe’s Politics” (1872)
    3. From Frances Harper, “Colored Women of America,” Englishwoman’s Review (15 January 1878)
    4. From Frances Harper, “The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and the ColoredWoman,” African Methodist Episcopal Church Review (1888)
    5. From Frances Harper, “Enlightened Motherhood: An Address … Before the Brooklyn Literary Society” (15 November 1892)
    6. From Fannie Barrier Williams, “The Intellectual Progress of The Colored Women of the United States Since the Emancipation Proclamation” (1893)
  • Appendix G: Being Black and a Woman: Aesthetics and Reception
    1. William J. Watkins, “The Reformer,” Frederick Douglass’ Paper (7 April 1854)
    2. Grace Greenwood, Impressions of Harper as a Speaker (1866)
    3. From Anna Julia Cooper, “The Status of Woman in America” (1892)
    4. Reviews of Iola Leroy
      1. “Publications Reviewed,” Christian Recorder (12 January 1893)
      2. From “Review 1,” Independent (5 January 1893)
      3. Richmond Planet (21 January 1893)
      4. From “Recent Fiction,” The Nation (23 February 1893)
      5. From “Our Book List,” A.M.E. Church Review (April 1893)
      6. “Book Review,” Friends’ Review; a Religious, Literary and Miscellaneous Journal (22 June 1893)
      7. Review of Reviews (January 1895)
      8. From “Recent Fiction,” Independent (29 October 1896)
      9. From Edward Elmore Brock, “Brock’s Literary Leaves,” Freeman (Indianapolis) (14 August 1897)
      10. [W.E.B. Du Bois,] “Writers,” Crisis (April 1911)
  • Works Cited and Select Bibliography
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