Showing posts with label slavery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label slavery. Show all posts

Monday, November 07, 2022

'Descendant': A documentary about the descendants of the Clotilda, a sunken slave ship

Descendant follows members of Africatown, a small community in Alabama, as they share their personal stories and community history as descendants of the Clotilda, the last known slave ship to illegally transport human beings as cargo from Africa to America. The ship’s existence, a centuries-old open secret, is confirmed by a team of marine archeologists. The film explores implications of the Clotilda’s discovery for the descendants, who grapple with their heritage while claiming the power to shape their own destinies.

Descendant, Directed by Margaret Brown premiered in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, and won the Special Jury Award: Creative Vision.

The documentary is currently airing now on Netflix.

Watch the trailer below:

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Resolution apologizing for Boston's role in slavery approved by city council

Boston’s city council unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday apologizing for the Massachusetts capital’s role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

The resolution, which is non-binding, pledges the city will remove “prominent anti-Black symbols” and educate residents on the history of Boston’s slave trade, among other things. But it stops short of committing the city to funding any specific policies or programs to atone for slavery’s harms, such as paying reparations.

Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson, who proposed the resolution, said in her remarks to the council that the formal apology represents a necessary first step as the city looks to address the harms caused by slavery.

The council is currently weighing a separate proposal creating a city commission to weigh reparations and other forms of atonement for Boston’s legacy of slavery and racial inequality.

Anderson’s resolution states slavery was first legalized in Massachusetts in 1641 and that the developing Boston economy depended on slaves who “served as butlers, maids, courtiers, beer makers, drivers, cooks and producers of clothing.”

Slavery, the resolution continues, led to “present-day trauma and economic, political, social and racial disparities” such as poorer housing and public education options and income inequality.


Monday, July 31, 2017

HBO statement on #NoConfederate

There has been controversy around HBO's upcoming show Confederate since it was announced. During last nights airing on Game of Thrones #NoConfederate began trending. The hashtag is part of a campaign to get HBO to cancel the show before it even airs.The campaign was organized by April Reign, the activist behind #OscarsSoWhite.

Many are upset because Confederate is a show that will chronicle events leading to the "Third American Civil War". It takes place in an alternate timeline, where the southern states have successfully seceded from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution.

HBO has released the following statement on #NoConfederate:

“We have great respect for the dialogue and concern being expressed around ‘Confederate.’ We have faith that Nichelle, Dan, David and Malcolm will approach the subject with care and sensitivity. The project is currently in its infancy so we hope that people will reserve judgment until there is something to see.”

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Atoning for Slavery Ties, Georgetown University Renames Buildings

Georgetown University welcomed more than 100 descendants of the 272 men, women and children of the 1838 sale, orchestrated by the Maryland Jesuits, that benefited Georgetown University.

On Tuesday, April 18, with a Liturgy of Remembrance, Contrition and Hope, Georgetown University performed more penance for its 1838 sale of slaves, owned by the Maryland Jesuits, that directly benefited the fledging college financially.

There were mea culpas offered during a moving liturgy in Gaston Hall in the school's landmark Healy Building and at dedications in the Quadrangle, where newly renamed buildings stand near Dahlgren Chapel.

The two buildings, which once bore the names of the 19th-century Jesuit priests who managed the deal that sent 272 slaves from Maryland to Louisiana, were dedicated in the names of former slaves: Isaac Hawkins, whose name is shown at the top of the bill of sale, and Anne Marie Becraft, a freed African American woman who founded a school for Catholic black girls in Georgetown.

At the Gaston Hall ceremony, attended by descendants of the slaves sold off by the university, Georgetown's president, John DeGioia, said the school — like others on the East Coast — participated in America's "original sin," slavery. "We offer this apology for the descendants and your ancestors humbly and without expectations, and we trust ourselves to God and the Spirit and the grace He freely offers to find ways to work together and build together," DeGioia said.

Rev. Timothy Kesicki, S.J., president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, said, “Today the Society of Jesus, which helped to establish Georgetown University and whose leaders enslaved and mercilessly sold your ancestors, stands before you to say: We have greatly sinned, in our thoughts and in our words, in what we have done and in what we have failed to do.” He added: "We betrayed the very name of Jesus for whom our least society is named."

“Penance is very important,” said Sandra Green Thomas, president of the GU272 Descendants Association. “Penance is required when you have violated God’s law.”

The university selected the day because it was a few days after D.C. Emancipation Day, which commemorates the freeing of slaves in the District of Columbia by President Abraham Lincoln on April 16, 1862.
[SOURCE: Georgetowner]

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Colson Whitehead wins Pulitzer Prize for 'Underground Railroad'

The Underground Railroad, an inventive and searing take on slavery in 1850s Georgia, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction Monday, adding to author Colson Whitehead’s list of accolades and bolstering the case for the book to be included in the pantheon of Great American Novels.The novel mixes harsh reality — slavery in the antebellum South — with a vividly imagined alternative world, one in which the Underground Railroad is a literal subterranean network of tracks and stations.

Whitehead’s heroine is a headstrong teenage runaway slave named Cora, who escapes a brutal cotton plantation and tries to find her way to freedom.

The Pulitzer committee lauded Railroad "for a smart melding of realism and allegory that combines the violence of slavery and the drama of escape in a myth that speaks to contemporary America."
In an interview with USA TODAY after learning he'd won the Pulitzer, Whitehead said: "My baseline happiness level has been pretty high the last 10 months."

He said when he wrote the first 100 pages of The Underground Railroad, he felt he was "firing on all cylinders." But he had no idea the novel would "have this kind of reception. I try to do the same old thing and hope it works out. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. This time it really did."


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Alabama Senate passes Confederate monuments bill

The Alabama Senate has passed a bill that bars changes from being made to Confederate or long-standing monuments in the state. The ones who voted for this bill are probably the same type of people that say African Americans need to get over slavery, yet still want to honor the legacy of a group of traitors and losers who fought to keep other human beings enslaved.

WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Ta-Nehisi Coates believes Harvard should pay reparations for it's ties to slavery

While giving a keynote address at a conference, entitled “Universities and Slavery: Bound By History” at Harvard University, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates discussed reparations.

Coates, a known proponent of reparations made the case to the audience that progress on racial issues requires institutions to repay their debts to enslaved people.

“I think every single one of these universities needs to make reparations,” he said to wide applause. “I don’t know how you get around that, I just don’t. I don’t know how you conduct research that shows that your very existence is rooted in a great crime, and just say ‘well,’ shrug—and maybe at best say ‘I’m sorry’—and you walk away. And I think you need to use the language of ‘reparation.’ I think it’s very, very important to actually say that word, to acknowledge that something was done in these institutions.”

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Scarlet & Black: Rutgers University acknowledges it's past ties to slavery

'Scarlet and Black: Slavery and Dispossession in Rutgers History' Brings University’s Untold Story Out of the Shadows

New book published by Rutgers University Press was the result of work by the Committee on Enslaved and Disenfranchised Populations in Rutgers History
Photo: Rutgers Special Collections and University Archives
Scarlet and Black brings out of the shadows the story of Will, a slave who laid the foundation of Old Queens.
Rutgers University released the findings of eight months of research that reveal an untold history of some of the institution’s founders as slave owners and the displacement of the Native Americans who once occupied land that was later transferred to the college.
The work, contained in the book Scarlet and Black, Volume 1: Slavery and Dispossession in Rutgers History, brings out of the shadows the story of Will, a slave who laid the foundation of Old Queens. The research, which spans the mid-18th through mid-19th centuries, also reveals that abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth and her parents were owned by the family of Rutgers’ first president Jacob Hardenbergh.
The project was the result of an initiative by Rutgers University-New Brunswick Chancellor Richard L. Edwards. In the fall of 2015, Edwards appointed the Committee on Enslaved and Disenfranchised Populations in Rutgers History, which grew out of a meeting with a group of students concerned about improving the racial and cultural climate on campus.
“This work shows that we are not afraid to look at ourselves and our early history,” Edwards said. “We are a large public university that is one of the most diverse in the country and we think we need to understand our history and not be ashamed of it, but to be able to face it in a forthright way.”
“Like many other universities whose origins predate the United States Constitution and the founding of our country, the committee has explored aspects of our history that are difficult and complex and I applaud them for it,” said Rutgers University President Robert L. Barchi.  “Their findings provide a fuller understanding of the institution’s early days, and by doing so have drawn a contrast between the Colonial-era Queen’s College of 1766 and the Rutgers–New Brunswick of 2016, which is one of the most diverse and inclusive major public research universities in the country.”
Rutgers joins other Colonial-era colleges in confronting its past, including Georgetown, Yale, Brown and Harvard. The committee worked to create a fuller picture of Rutgers’ history as the university celebrated its 250th anniversary and reflected on a familiar story: the founding by leaders of the Dutch Reformed Church, the role of benefactor Col. Henry Rutgers and the university’s identity as a land grant institution.
Deborah Gray White, a Board of Governors distinguished professor of history and chair of the Committee on Enslaved and Disenfranchised Populations in Rutgers History, said she would like different people to take away different lessons from their work.
“I want our African-American students to be proud of Will and to understand that their ancestry helped build the university,’’ she said. “I want New Jerseyans and Americans to understand that African Americans were integral to this nation even though we came here in chains, and we helped build America.
“This is not a way to tear down the university or diminish it, but it is a way to celebrate it and go forward,’’ White said.
Photo: Rutgers Special Collections and University Archives
Scarlet and Black puts that history in a new context by bringing into the light the founders’ connections to slavery and the story of how the university benefited from the displacement of Native Americans.
“It is often the case that the accepted history of an institution only explains part of its true history, but we know there are many threads to explore ,’’ Edwards said. “Some of our founders were heavily involved with Dutch Reformed Church and prominent members of the community – there were many facets to these figures. But among these facets was their involvement in slavery and the slave economy.”
Their names are emblazoned on academic buildings and surrounding public streets and are indelible in Rutgers’ identity. Founder Philip Livingston, who was a slave trader and slave owner; the first instructor Frederick Frelinghuysen, who owned slaves and whose family was deeply connected to the beginning of Rutgers; and trustees Col. John Neilson and Philip French are just a few whose connection to slavery is brought to light in the book. The university’s namesake Henry Rutgers was a slaveholder who, like several of the founders, became active in the American Colonization Society – an organization that advocated for resettling freed slaves in Africa.
The story of Rutgers’ ties to slavery wasn’t deeply hidden. The students who met with Edwards pointed to Craig Steven Wilder’s book Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities, which makes reference to some of Rutgers’ founding families.
A team of faculty, graduate students and undergraduates sifted through records in Rutgers Libraries Special Collections and University Archives, the Sage Library at the New Brunswick Theological Seminary and traveled to the state archives in Trenton and the National Archives in Washington, D.C., to piece together the forgotten threads of Rutgers’ founding. Students delved through the wills, speeches, journals and property records of Rutgers founders and early trustees. They read through manumission records – the documents slave owners filed to grant freedom to the enslaved – analyzed newspapers ads for the sale of slaves and, in rare instances, had slave narratives to provide missing voices in Rutgers’ history.
All the records left behind were in colonial script adding to students’ challenge. They meticulously transcribed the documents they found, including a receipt book for the building of Old Queens, which now houses the president’s office and other administrative departments at Rutgers.
Photo: Nick Romanenko/Rutgers University
Deborah Gray White, chair of the Committee on Enslaved and Disenfranchised Populations in Rutgers History 
In one of its first few pages, the receipt book reveals payments to local New Brunswick doctor Jacob Dunham “for the labor of his negro.” The slave’s identity would have been likely lost to history if Dunham had not kept detailed records of people who owed him money, which were preserved in the Rutgers archives.  One of the report’s recommendations includes placing a plaque at Old Queens to commemorate Will’s story.
“Not many people know this history,” said Marisa Fuentes, an associate professor in the departments of Women’s and Gender Studies and History and co-editor of Scarlet and Black.
“Walking through Old Queens and knowing who built the building, you think about all the bodies, the ghosts, who linger in that space that we haven’t ever heard about. It is the power of knowledge that transforms the space for you.”
As Edwards learned about the extent of the research and information uncovered, he realized the need for a permanent record of the work. In a little over a year’s time, the committee produced the book that includes seven chapters examining two threads of Rutgers’ history: the university’s ties to Native American land and deep connection to slavery.
The book tells the story of the Lenni Lenape Indians who were mostly displaced from New Jersey decades before the university’s founding, as well as those few who still lived in Central Jersey at the time the school was created, and whose young people were sent to an Indian boarding school in Connecticut rather than being welcomed at Queen’s College during its first decade. Scarlet and Black also explores how Rutgers – like all land grant universities – benefitted from the Morrill Act of 1862 – the federal program that funded schools for the study of agriculture and the mechanical arts through the sale of Indian land out west.
The work examining Rutgers history is expected to continue. Edwards referred to Scarlet and Black as the first volume and is creating a post-doctoral position charged with examining the experiences of African Americans and Native Americans at the university through the 20th century.
Recommendations made by the committee include:
  • Placing historical markers around campus that commemorate people such as Will
  • Establish Rutgers physical and virtual tours which incorporate the material of Scarlet and Black
  • Establish retention scholarships to increase the graduation rates of “at risk” students.
  • Continue the research of Scarlet and Black
  • Consider naming some of the new buildings after contemporary, or historically, prominent African Americans and Native Americans; consider renaming one building.
The full list of recommendations can be found at The university will review and then respond to the committee’s recommendations. 
 “I am proud of the institution for taking charge, doing the project and making a pledge that this is important,” said Beatrice Adams, a graduate student who studies African-American history and history of the American South and assisted with the research for Scarlet and Black.
“I think this report speaks volumes that this doesn't have to be something administrators and professors are doing begrudgingly, but that administrators and professors are doing this because they think it’s something important to be said,’’ Adams said.

For media inquiries contact Zach Hosseini at, 848-932-7368 or E.J. Miranda at, 848-932-7084

Sunday, September 18, 2016

American Uprising: The Untold Story of America's Largest Slave Revolt

With the upcoming release of "Birth of a Nation" a movie about a slave rebellion led by Nat Turner you may be interested to know about the largest slave rebellion that took place in the United States. A revolt that took place in New Orleans by 500 organized slaves.

In January 1811, five hundred slaves, dressed in military uniforms and armed with guns, cane knives, and axes, rose up from the plantations around New Orleans and set out to conquer the city. Ethnically diverse, politically astute, and highly organized, this self-made army challenged not only the economic system of plantation agriculture but also American expansion. Their march represented the largest act of armed resistance against slavery in the history of the United States.

Historian Daniel Rasmussen reveals the long-forgotten history of America’s largest slave uprising, the New Orleans slave revolt of 1811. In an epic, illuminating narrative, Rasmussen offers new insight into American expansionism, the path to Civil War, and the earliest grassroots push to overcome slavery.




Thursday, September 01, 2016

Georgetown to make up for past ties to slavery

Georgetown University is taking steps to atone for its historical ties to slavery. The plan includes giving the descendants of slaves the same admissions advantages that children of alumni receive. Watch more below:

Friday, May 27, 2016

Re-Imagining of Roots will air on several channels

History Channels Roots re-imagining premieres on May 30 at 8 PM EST/9 CST . It will air simultaneously on the channels History, A&E and Lifetime over four consecutive nights.

Roots Trailer

The four-night, eight-hour event series developed by HISTORY, from A+E Studios, is a historical portrait of American slavery recounting the journey of one family and their will to survive and ultimately carry on their legacy despite hardship.

The stellar cast includes Academy Award® winners Forest Whitaker ("Fiddler") and Anna Paquin ("Nancy Holt"); Academy Award® nominee and Emmy Award® winner Laurence Fishburne ("Alex Haley"); Golden Globe Award® winning and Emmy Award® nominated actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers ("Tom Lea"); Tony Award® winner Anika Noni Rose ("Kizzy"); Grammy Award® winner Tip "T.I." Harris ("Cyrus"); Chad L. Coleman ("Mingo"); Emayatzy Corinealdi ("Belle"); Matthew Goode ("Dr. William Waller"); Derek Luke ("Silla Ba Dibba"); Mekhi Phifer ("Jerusalem"); James Purefoy ("John Waller"); Erica Tazel ("Matilda") and introduces Regé-Jean Page ("Chicken George") and Malachi Kirby ("Kunta Kinte").

"'Roots' will allow new audiences to experience this epic family saga with a new vision that is both inspiring and tremendously entertaining," said Buccieri. "We are proud that HISTORY will be able to bring new life to this powerful story that remains as important today as it did when the original 'Roots' first premiered."

"Nearly 40 years ago I had the privilege to be a part of an epic television event that started an important conversation in America," said LeVar Burton, Co-Executive Producer. "I am incredibly proud to be a part of this new retelling and start the dialogue again, at a time when it is needed more than ever."

"Roots" is an A+E Studios production in association with Marc Toberoff and The Wolper Organization, the company that produced the original "Roots." Will Packer, Marc Toberoff, Mark Wolper, Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal and Barry Jossen serve as executive producers. LeVar Burton and Korin D. Huggins are co-executive producers. Questlove is executive music producer. "Roots" is directed by Phillip Noyce, Mario Van Peebles, Thomas Carter and Bruce Beresford. Arturo Interian and Michael Stiller serve as Executives in Charge of Production for HISTORY. A+E Networks handles international distribution for "Roots".

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Photos of slave descendants donated to Smithsonian

A "time capsule" of photographs documenting the descendants of enslave African-Americans on a long-isolated island off the South Carolina-Georgia coast will have a new home at the Smithsonian's African-American history museum.

Bank of America, which has a vast art collection it lends to museums, donated a collection of 61 photographs by Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, the wife of the late tennis player Arthur Ashe, to the museum on Monday. Officials tell The Associated Press the bank will also give $1 million to help build the $500 million museum. This is the bank's second $1 million donation.

Read more here: