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History is CENTRAL. The Amistad , Slavery, and Abolition in American History. Opening Discussion on Slavery and Abolition in American History . “Simply put, American history cannot be understood without slavery.” Ira Berlin. Changing Interpretations: Slavery. Slavery vs. Enslavement

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history is central

History is CENTRAL

The Amistad, Slavery, and Abolition in American History

opening discussion on slavery and abolition in american history
Opening Discussion on Slavery and Abolition in American History

“Simply put, American history cannot be understood without slavery.”

Ira Berlin

changing interpretations slavery
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
changing interpretations abolition
Changing Interpretations: Abolition
  • Abolition vs. antislavery
  • Role of African American abolitionists
  • Connections to the Civil War
  • Reinterpretation of emancipation
the amistad story
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?)
the amistad as a civil rights symbol
The Amistad as a Civil Rights Symbol
  • James Monroe Whitfield, poet (1853)
  • Hale Woodruff Murals (1939)
  • Steven Spielberg’s Amistad (1997)
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

James Monroe Whitfield, To Cinque (1853)
hale woodruff
Hale Woodruff
  • Muralist, landscape painter, and woodblock artist born in Illinois in 1900. Died in 1980.
  • Taught at Atlanta University and later NYU.
  • In addition to Amistad murals, produced numerous images of black life in the American South.
available documentary sources part i
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
available documentary sources part ii
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, 1840-1860? (Document Project)
    • Proceedings of the Anti-slavery Convention of American Women (1837-1839)
  • Exploring Amistad at Mystic Seaport
  • Teaching with Documents: The Amistad Case, National Archives and Records Administration
john woolman some considerations on the keeping of negroes 1754
John Woolman Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes (1754)
  • Born in 1720 to a New Jersey Quaker family. Died 1772.
  • Woolman’s Some Considerations credited with mobilizing Quakers against slaveholding amongst their own.
david walker appeal in four articles 1830
David Walker Appeal in Four Articles (1830)
  • Born 1785 in North Carolina to an enslaved father and free mother. Died 1830.
  • Moved to Boston where he first published his Appeal in 1829.
  • The Appeal declared that American wealth derived from African “blood and tears” and advocated violent resistance to slavery.
women and social movements in the united states
Women and Social Movements in the United States

How Did Abolitionist Women and Their Slaveholding Relatives Negotiate Their Conflict over the Issue of Slavery?