Wednesday, July 18, 2012

History and Memory of American Slavery Roundup

Eastman Johnson, "A Ride for Liberty: The Fugitive," 1862
"Piecing Together Stories Of Families 'Lost In Slavery,'" NPR, July 16, 2012

For decades, slavery tore apart African-American families. Children were sold off from their mothers, and husbands were taken from their wives. Many desperately tried to keep track of each other, even running away to find loved ones. After the Civil War and emancipation, these efforts intensified. Freed slaves posted ads in newspapers and wrote letters — seeking any clue to a family member's whereabouts.

In Help Me to Find My People, author Heather Andrea Williams examines the emotional toll of separation during slavery and of the arduous journey many slaves took to reunite their families.

Christian Boone, "Controversial slavery mural gets new home," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 16, 2012

A controversial mural depicting slavery that until recently greeted visitors to the Georgia Department of Agriculture will be back on display starting in August.

The Georgia Museum of Art, located on the University of Georgia campus, has rescued the painting — part of a series of murals produced by Atlanta-based artist George Beattie in 1956 chronicling the state's agricultural history — from a state storage facility and will debut the collection Aug.

Amy Wimmer Schwarb, "U.S. conference highlights slaves' southern path to freedom," Reuters, June 20, 2012

With the North Star as the guiding light for runaway slaves and Canada as the Promised Land, the underground railroad that U.S. schoolchildren read about in textbooks points to freedom in just one direction - the north.

But scholars gathering this week for the National Underground Railroad Conference will head south to St. Augustine, Florida, home to the former capital of Spanish Florida and a flight-to-freedom story rooted in the 17th century that is unknown to most Americans.

Ira Chernus, "Slavery and 'Big Government': The Emancipation Proclamation’s Lessons 150 Years Later," History News Network, July 12, 2012

One hundred fifty years ago today, on July 13, 1862, Abraham Lincoln went out for a carriage ride with his Secretary of State, William Seward, and his Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles. Lincoln told them (as Welles recalled it) that he had “about come to the conclusion that it was a military necessity absolutely essential for the salvation of the Union, that we must free the slaves.” That was the seed of conception for the Emancipation Proclamation, which came to birth five and half months later, giving Lincoln his greatest legacy: “He freed the slaves.” It’s a story everyone knows.

But it’s not quite accurate. Only the slaves in the Confederate states were emancipated. Citizens of the Union could still own slaves.

Dawn Turner Trice, "First lady's ancestry an American story," Chicago Tribune, June 18, 2012

Many Americans are fascinated by the family history of Michelle Obama, a descendant of slaves who is the nation's first African-American first lady.

You've learned a lot about her ancestry in this newspaper. Now, add to that a new book due out Tuesday, "American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama."

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