Thanks to HAS supporter Paula D. Hunt for her help preparing this Around the Web post!
December 2015 will mark the 150th anniversary of the passage of the 13th amendment abolishing slavery. Allen C. Guelzo, professor of history at Gettysburg College, writes on Philly.com that this event is worth remembering and commemorating. Guelzo writes, "The 13th Amendment was not merely an incident in the long-past details of the American Civil War. It was a blow against centuries of oppression and exploitation everywhere. If we cannot find enough in that to celebrate, we have a far bigger problem at hand than mere historical amnesia."
Historians Against Slavery founder James Brewer Stewart offers insights on the importance of harnessing the lessons of history in tackling modern-day slavery in the current volume of Social Inclusion. Stewart writes, "contemporary antislavery activism in the United States is programmatically undermined and ethically compromised unless it is firmly grounded in a deep understanding of the African American past."
Two Historians Against Slavery board members, Dr. Matthew Mason and Dr. Elizabeth Swanson Goldberg, are participating in Augustana College’s lecture series, "Slavery Then, Today and Tomorrow." Brigham Young University’s Dr. Mason spoke on "Nineteenth Century National and International Slavery Politics: What Can Today’s Abolitionists and Policymakers Learn?" on March 12. Dr. Swanson Goldberg of Babson College will speak on "The Power of Partnership: Business Innovations in the Fight Against Slavery" on April 9. Also participating in the series will be Dr. John Majewski, University of California, Santa Barbara, who will speak on "Slavery and the Death of Economic Creativity Before the Civil War" on May 7.
The Tracing Center reports on some old and some new bills introduced in the 114th Congress relating to modern slavery, human trafficking, and the African American experience. Notably, it relates John Conyers’ (D-Mich.) "perennial legislation that would establish a commission to study the history of slavery and its legacies, and to make recommendations for appropriate remedies." In addition, it notes that 2016 will be the 150th anniversary of congressional authorization of the Buffalo Soldiers, which have been the subject of a National Park Service study that seeks to find ways to commemorate these troops and their service.
Emily Crockett argues that the recent death of the Senate’s human trafficking bill may not be a bad thing. OpenDemocracy also continues to post thought-provoking critiques of the some of the key premises of contemporary antislavery activism. See, for example, recent posts by Anne Gallagher and Joel Quirk and Andre Broome on the problems with the Global Slavery Index.
If you are an instructor seeking ways to connect the past to issues related slavery today, you might want to take a look at the course, "Studying Human Trafficking Through Medical, Legal, and Historical Lenses," taught by four instructors from three different fields at Stanford University.
A major story by the Associated Press discovered the continued use of slave labor in the seafood industry.
Martha S. Jones of the University of Michigan led students in the school’s History of Law and Social Justice in a #LawSocialJusticeChat on January 14. Read what have they have to say about Abolitionism, the Amistad case, and the history of cause lawyering.
Rebel flags, hoop skirts, and modern-day slavery are alive and well in South America according to writer Mimi Dwyer, who writes about them all in "The Brazilian Town Where the American Confederacy Lives On" for Vice. She quotes one local as saying, "I really don’t like this idea, celebrating something about the South, because of slavery. I really don’t like it. But here this party is not about politics, I think. It’s about the culture."
In case you’ve missed them, the Historians Against Slavery website has three recent guest blog posts. Dr. Scott Heerman, a postdoctoral fellow at The Johns Hopkins University, writes about "Kidnapping and Capitalism: Human Trafficking in Antebellum America." Dr. Joel Quirk, an associate professor in political studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, writes about a historical amnesia he calls Uncomfortable Silences: Anti-Slavery, Colonialism and Imperialism. In "The Long Selma Moment," David Gellman, professor of history at DePauw University, explores the history of voting rights and voter suppression that continue to be issues long after emancipation.