April 15, 2014 |
Henry Bibb was just 10 the first time he ran away. In the antebellum South, Bibb fled slavery many more times, eventually finding his freedom and becoming an author and abolitionist. "Believe me when I say that no tongue, nor pen ever has or can express the horrors of American Slavery," he wrote in 1849. "I despair in finding language to express adequately the deep feeling of my soul as I contemplate the past history of my life. " His story - one of thousands of surviving slave narratives - is part of research by Rutgers-Camden associate professor Keith Green, who uses it to help dissect and expand the meaning of slavery.
April 9, 2014 |
A life-size bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson sits at the visual heart of the new National Constitution Center exhibition exploring slavery and the eloquent advocate of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. " Behind the third president, inscribed on an enormous curving red wall, are more than 600 names - from "Abby" to "Zachary" and 11 labeled simply "name unknown. " These are the enslaved people owned by Jefferson and held at Monticello, his Virginia plantation, over the course of a lifetime.
October 21, 2013 |
Steve McQueen , the London- born artist and filmmaker, has lived in Amsterdam since the mid-1990s. One of the Dutch capital's top tourist attractions is the house where Anne Frank lived during World War II until her hiding place was revealed and she was sent to a concentration camp. Her diary, published posthumously and adapted to stage and screen, is required reading in schools around the world. McQueen wants the book that served as the basis of his powerful new film, 12 Years a Slave , to similarly be read by millions.
October 13, 2013 |
Larry Robin, the renowned Philadelphia literary maven, stood Saturday by the gravesite of a woman whose greatness he said is too little known. Quaker Lucretia Coffin Mott was a leader in the anti-slavery and women's rights movement at a time when wives were expected to stand quietly behind their husbands. Mott - a Philadelphia-area mother of six who hid slaves, led conventions and spoke before Congress - was "97 pounds, polite and unstoppable" said Robin, 70. That is the portrait Robin painted as about 20 people gathered at Historic Fair Hill Burial Ground in North Philadelphia to celebrate and promote Mott's achievements.
April 15, 2013
America's first abolitionist organization was founded in 1775, when a group of Quakers met at the Rising Sun Tavern in Philadelphia. The Quakers had been anti-slavery proponents for some time, having banned its members from enslaving African Americans by the 1770s. From this meeting was borne the Pennsylvania Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage. The society was devoted not only to the abolition of slavery, but also to the social and economic improvement of African Americans.
February 18, 2013 |
As the nation's first president, George Washington led a young country that had declared "all men are created equal," yet owned 300 slaves, gave slave owners the legal right to recover their runaways, and skirted a Pennsylvania law providing for gradual abolition by sending some of his slaves to Virginia. That dichotomy, at the heart of the President's House exhibit at Independence Mall, was on the minds of those touring the site Sunday on the eve of the federal holiday honoring all U.S. presidents.
January 31, 2013 |
On this last day of January in 1865, the House of Representatives passed a proposal for a constitutional ban on slavery. In Steven Spielberg's latest film, Abraham Lincoln is the consummate politician who, in the midst of a great war and facing determined resistance in Congress, made it happen. But before we join the "Why can't President Obama be more like Lincoln?" chorus, it's worth noting that the 13th Amendment was less a great leap forward than a single conflicted step. It reads, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
January 25, 2013 |
The entire treatment of slavery in my junior high history books - crack sources of information that they were - consisted of one or two illustrations of nameless black people, in chains, standing on auction blocks or picking cotton. Nary a mention of who the enslaved were, how they felt about their lives, or whether they had any dreams or aspirations. What we were required to memorize was that Abraham Lincoln freed us. Now here we are, 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation (issued Jan. 1, 1863)
January 13, 2013
In this month marking the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, here's a look at slavery around the world. Match the nation with the year it abolished slavery. 1. Brazil. 2. China. 3. Haiti. 4. Iran. 5. Korea. 6. Mauritania. 7. Portugal. 8. Russia. 9. Saudi Arabia. 10. Zanzibar. a. 1723; serfs in 1861. b. 1761. c. 1804. d. 1888. e. 1894. f. 1897. g. 1906. h. 1928. i. 1962.
January 6, 2013 |
On the first day of 1863, as the Civil War raged on, President Lincoln proclaimed all the slaves in the rebellious Confederate states to be "forever free. " With his Emancipation Proclamation, whose 150th anniversary the United States celebrates this week, Lincoln made the end of slavery a Civil War goal. As PBS's ambitious documentary miniseries The Abolitionists shows, Lincoln's words came at the end of a decadeslong antislavery campaign led by a tiny group of activists whose fervor alienated them from the mainstream of American life.