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Africa Reimagined is a passionately argued appeal for a rediscovery of our African identity. Going beyond the problems of a single country, Hlumelo Biko calls for a reorientation of values, on a continental scale, to suit the needs and priorities of Africans. Building on the premise that slavery, colonialism, imperialism and apartheid fundamentally unbalanced the values and indeed the very self-concept of Africans, he offers realistic steps to return to a more balanced Afro-centric identity.
Historically, African values were shaped by a sense of abundance, in material and mental terms, and by strong ties of community. The intrusion of religious, economic and legal systems imposed by conquerors, traders and missionaries upset this balance, and the African identity was subsumed by the values of the newcomers. Biko shows how a reimagining of Africa can restore the sense of abundance and possibility, and what a rebirth of the continent on Pan-African lines might look like. This is not about the churn of the news cycle or party politics – although he identifies the political party as one of the most pernicious legacies of colonialism. Instead, drawing on latest research, he offers a practical, pragmatic vision anchored in the here and now.
By looking beyond identities and values imposed from outside, and transcending the divisions and frontiers imposed under colonialism, it should be possible for Africans to develop fully their skills, values and ingenuity, to build institutions that reflect African values, and to create wealth for the benefit of the continent as a whole.
In Critique Of Black Reason, eminent critic Achille Mbembe offers a capacious genealogy of the category of Blackness - from the Atlantic slave trade to the present - to critically reevaluate history, racism, and the future of humanity. Mbembe teases out the intellectual consequences of the reality that Europe is no longer the world's center of gravity while mapping the relations between colonialism, slavery, and contemporary financial and extractive capital.
Tracing the conjunction of Blackness with the biological fiction of race, he theorizes Black reason as the collection of discourses and practices that equated Blackness with the nonhuman in order to uphold forms of oppression. Mbembe powerfully argues that this equation of Blackness with the nonhuman will serve as the template for all new forms of exclusion.
With Critique Of Black Reason, Mbembe offers nothing less than a map of the world as it has been constituted through colonialism and racial thinking while providing the first glimpses of a more just future.
As negentienjarige ryloper in Spanje beland Frank Westerman toevallig in die dorpie Banyoles, waar ’n opgestopte “Kalahari-Boesman”, slegs bekend as El Negro, uitgestal word. Sy indrukke bly hom by – en wanneer hy dekades later weer van El Negro lees, die keer in ’n Franse koerant, is dit die begin van ’n ondersoeksreis wat belangrike vrae oor rasopvattings en die Westerse beskawing na vore bring. Wie was hierdie naamlose man? Wat se sy opgestopte “museumteenwoordigheid” oor Europese denke oor slawerny, rassisme en kolonialisme – en bied hy slegs ’n spieel op ’n vergange tyd, of ook op die hede?
This comprehensive overview traces the evolution of modern Mozambique, from its early modern origins in the Indian Ocean trading system and the Portuguese maritime empire to the fifteen-year civil war that followed independence and its continued after-effects.
Though peace was achieved in 1992 through international mediation, Mozambique's remarkable recovery has shown signs of stalling. Malyn Newitt explores the historical roots of Mozambican disunity and hampered development, beginning with the divisive effects of the slave trade, the drawing of colonial frontiers in the 1890s and the lasting particularities of the north, centre and south, inherited from the compartmentalised approach of concession companies. Following the nationalist guerrillas' victory against the Portuguese in 1975, these regional divisions resurfaced in a civil war pitting the south against the north and centre, over attempts at far-reaching socioeconomic change. The settlement of the early 1990s is now under threat from a revived insurgency, and the ghosts of the past remain.
This book seeks to distill this complex history, and to understand why, twenty-five years after the Peace Accord, Mozambicans still remain among the poorest people in the world.
During six months in 1862, William Jefferson Whatley and his wife, Nancy Falkaday Watkins Whatley, exchanged a series of letters that vividly demonstrate the quickly changing roles of women whose husbands left home to fight in the Civil War. When William Whatley enlisted with the Confederate Army in 1862, he left his young wife Nancy in charge of their cotton farm in East Texas, near the village of Caledonia in Rusk County. In letters to her husband, Nancy describes in elaborate detail how she dealt with and felt about her new role, which thrust her into an array of unfamiliar duties, including dealing with increasingly unruly slaves, overseeing the harvest of the cotton crop, and negotiating business transactions with unscrupulous neighbors. At the same time, she carried on her traditional family duties and tended to their four young children during frequent epidemics of measles and diphtheria. Stationed hundreds of miles away, her husband could only offer her advice, sympathy, and shared frustration. In An East Texas Family's Civil War, the Whatleys' great-grandson, John T. Whatley, transcribes and annotates these letters for the first time. Notable for their descriptions of the unraveling of the local slave labor system and accounts of rural southern life, Nancy's letters offer a rare window on the hardships faced by women on the home front taking on unprecedented responsibilities and filling unfamiliar roles.
On the 27th August, 1963, the day before Martin Luther King electrified the world from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with the immortal words, "I Have a Dream", the life of another giant of the Civil Rights movement quietly drew to a close in Accra, Ghana: W.E.B. Du Bois. In this new biography, Bill V. Mullen interprets the seismic political developments of the Twentieth Century through Du Bois's revolutionary life. Du Bois was born in Massachusetts in 1868, just three years after formal emancipation of America's slaves. In his extraordinarily long and active political life, he would emerge as the first black man to earn a PhD from Harvard; surpass Booker T. Washington as the leading advocate for African American rights; co-found the NAACP, and involve himself in anti imperialist and anti-colonial struggles across Asia and Africa. Beyond his Civil Rights work, Mullen also examines Du Bois's attitudes towards socialism, the USSR, China's Communist Revolution, and the intersectional relationship between capitalism, poverty and racism. An accessible introduction to a towering figure of American Civil Rights, perfect for anyone wanting to engage with Du Bois's life and work.
When slavery was a routine part of life in America's South, a secret network of activists and escape routes enabled slaves to make their way to freedom in what is now Canada. The 'underground railroad' has become part of folklore, but one part of the story is only now coming to light. In New York, a city whose banks, business and politics were deeply enmeshed in the slave economy, three men played a remarkable part, at huge personal risk. In Gateway to Freedom, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Eric Foner tells the story of Sydney Howard Gay, an abolitionist newspaper editor; Louis Napoleon, furniture polisher; and Charles B. Ray, a black minister. Between 1830 and 1860, with the secret help of black dockworkers, the network led by these three men helped no fewer than 3,000 fugitives to liberty. The previously unexamined records compiled by Gay offer a portrait of fugitive slaves who passed through New York City - where they originated, how they escaped, who helped them in both North and South, and how they were forwarded to freedom in Canada.
In American Sectionalism in the British Mind, 1832- 1863, Peter O'Connor uses an innovative interdisciplinary approach to provide a corrective to simplified interpretations of British attitudes towards the United States during the antebellum and early Civil War periods. Exploring the many complexities of transatlantic politics and culture, O'Connor examines developing British ideas about U.S. sectionalism, from the abolition of slavery in the British Empire and the Nullification Crisis in South Carolina to the Civil War. Through a close reading of travelogues, fictional accounts, newspaper reports, and personal papers, O'Connor argues that the British literate population had a longstanding familiarity with U.S. sectionalism and with the complex identities of the North and South. As a consequence of their engagement with published accounts of America produced in the decades leading up to the Civil War, the British populace approached the conflict through these preexisting notions. O'Connor reveals even antislavery commentators tended to criticize slavery in the abstract and to highlight elements of the system that they believed compared favorably to the condition of free blacks in the North. As a result, the British saw slavery in the U.S. in national as opposed to sectional terms, which collapsed the moral division between North and South. O'Connor argues that the British identified three regions within America- the British Cavalier South, the British Puritan New England, and the ethnically heterogeneous New York and Pennsylvania region- and demonstrates how the apparent lack of a national American culture prepared Britons for the idea of disunity within the U.S. He then goes on to highlight how British commentators engaged with American debates over political culture, political policy, and states' rights. In doing so, he reveals the complexity of the British understanding of American sectionalism in the antebellum era and its consequences for British public opinion during the Civil War. American Sectionalism in the British Mind, 1832- 1863 re-conceptualizes our understanding of British engagements with the United States during the mid-nineteenth century, offering a new explanation of how the British understood America in the antebellum and Civil War eras.
In December 1860, South Carolinians voted to abandon the Union, sparking the deadliest war in American history. Led by a proslavery movement that viewed Abraham Lincoln's place at the helm of the federal government as a real and present danger to the security of the South, southerners, both slaveholders and nonslaveholders, willingly risked civil war by seceding from the United States. Radical proslavery activists contended that without defending slavery's westward expansion American planters would, like their former counterparts in the West Indies, become greatly outnumbered by those they enslaved. The result would transform the South into a mere colony within the federal government and make white southerners reliant on antislavery outsiders for protection of their personal safety and wealth. Faith in American exceptionalism played an important role in the reasoning of the antebellum American public, shaping how those in both the free and slave states viewed the world. Questions about who might share the bounty of the exceptional nature of the country became the battleground over which Americans fought, first with words, then with guns. Carl Lawrence Paulus's The Slaveholding Crisis examines how, due to the fear of insurrection by the enslaved, southerners created their own version of American exceptionalism, one that placed the perpetuation of slavery at its forefront. Feeling a loss of power in the years before the Civil War, the planter elite no longer saw the Union, as a whole, fulfilling that vision of exceptionalism. As a result, Paulus contends, slaveholders and nonslaveholding southerners believed that the white South could anticipate racial conflict and brutal warfare. This narrative postulated that limiting slavery's expansion within the Union was a riskier proposition than fighting a war of secession. In the end, Paulus argues, by insisting that the new party in control of the federal government promoted this very insurrection, the planter elite gained enough popular support to create the Confederate States of America. In doing so, they established a thoroughly proslavery, modern state with the military capability to quell massive resistance by the enslaved, expand its territorial borders, and war against the forces of the Atlantic antislavery movement.
The shocking first-hand account of one man’s remarkable fight for freedom; now an award-winning motion picture.
‘Why had I not died in my young years – before God had given me children to love and live for? What unhappiness and suffering and sorrow it would have prevented. I sighed for liberty; but the bondsman's chain was round me, and could not be shaken off.’
1841: Solomon Northup is a successful violinist when he is kidnapped and sold into slavery. Taken from his family in New York State – with no hope of ever seeing them again – and forced to work on the cotton plantations in the Deep South, he spends the next twelve years in captivity until his eventual escape in 1853.
First published in 1853, this extraordinary true story proved to be a powerful voice in the debate over slavery in the years leading up to the Civil War. It is a true-life testament of one man’s courage and conviction in the face of unfathomable injustice and brutality: its influence on the course of American history cannot be overstated.
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History "Compelling."-Renee Graham, Boston Globe "Stunning."-Rebecca Onion, Slate "Makes a vital contribution to our understanding of our past and present."-Parul Sehgal, New York Times Bridging women's history, the history of the South, and African American history, this book makes a bold argument about the role of white women in American slavery. Historian Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers draws on a variety of sources to show that slave-owning women were sophisticated economic actors who directly engaged in and benefited from the South's slave market. Because women typically inherited more slaves than land, enslaved people were often their primary source of wealth. Not only did white women often refuse to cede ownership of their slaves to their husbands, they employed management techniques that were as effective and brutal as those used by slave-owning men. White women actively participated in the slave market, profited from it, and used it for economic and social empowerment. By examining the economically entangled lives of enslaved people and slave-owning women, Jones-Rogers presents a narrative that forces us to rethink the economics and social conventions of slaveholding America.
More than three decades after its initial publication, J. Mills Thornton's Politics and Power in a Slave Society remains the definitive study of political culture in antebellum Alabama. Controversial when it first appeared, the book argues against a view of prewar Alabama as an aristocratic society governed by a planter elite. Instead, Thornton claims that Alabama was an aggressively democratic state, and that this very egalitarianism set the stage for secession. White Alabamians had first-hand experiences with slavery, and these encounters warned them to guard against the imposition of economic or social reforms that might limit their equality. Playing upon their fears, the leaders of the southern rights movement warned that national consolidation presented the danger that fanatic northern reformers would force alien values upon Alabama and its residents. These threats gained traction when national reforms of the 1850s gave state government a more active role in the everyday life of Alabama citizens; and ambitious young politicians were able to carry the state into secession in 1861. Politics and Power in a Slave Society continues to inspire scholars by challenging one of the fundamental articles of the American creed: that democracy intrinsically produces good. Contrary to our conventional wisdom, slavery was not an un-American institution, but rather coexisted with and supported the democratic beliefs of white Alabama.
In the summer of 1845, Frederick Douglass, the young runaway slave catapulted to fame by his incendiary autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, arrived in Liverpool for the start of a near-two-year tour of Britain and Ireland he always called one of the most transformative periods of his life. Laurence Fenton draws on a wide array of sources from both sides of the Atlantic and combines a unique insight into the early years of one of the great figures of the nineteenth-century world with rich profiles of the enormous personalities at the heart of the transatlantic anti-slavery movement. This vivid portrait of life in Victorian Britain is the first to fully explore the 'liberating sojourn' that ended with Douglass gaining his freedom - paid for by British supporters - before returning to America as a celebrity and icon of international standing. It also follows his later life, through the American Civil War and afterwards. Douglass has been described as 'the most influential African American of the nineteenth century'. He spoke and wrote on behalf of a variety of reform causes: women's rights, temperance, peace, land reform, free public education and the abolition of capital punishment. But he devoted most of his time, immense talent and boundless energy to ending slavery. On April 14, 1876, Douglass would deliver the keynote speech at the unveiling of the Emancipation Memorial in Washington's Lincoln Park.
RICHMOND WAS NOT only the capital of Virginia and of the Confederacy; it was also one of the most industrialized cities south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Boasting ironworks, tobacco processing plants, and flour mills, the city by 1860 drew half of its male workforce from the local slave population. "Rearing Wolves to Our Own Destruction" examines this unusual urban labor system from 1782 until the end of the Civil War. Many urban bondsmen and women were hired to businesses rather than working directly for their owners. As a result, they frequently had the opportunity to negotiate their own contracts, to live alone, and to keep a portion of their wages in cash. Working conditions in industrial Richmond enabled African-American men and women to build a community organized around family networks, black churches, segregated neighborhoods, secret societies, and aid organizations. Through these institutions, Takagi demonstrates, slaves were able to educate themselves and to develop their political awareness. They also came to expect a degree of control over their labor and lives. Richmond's urban slave system offered blacks a level of economic and emotional support not usually available to plantation slaves. "Rearing Wolves to Our Own Destruction "offers a valuable portrait of urban slavery in an individual city that raises questions about the adaptability of slavery as an institution to an urban setting and, more importantly, the ways in which slaves were able to turn urban working conditions to their own advantage.
A detailed account of the extraordinary life of Austin Steward, a black man who lived in the early nineteenth century as both a slave and then later a free man. Originally published in 1861, Austin Steward's memoir has long been a staple source of first-hand evidence about activism against slavery and racism by freed blacks. Long out of print, the narrative is now available with additional biographical information and a critical introduction by historian Graham Hodges. The introduction affords an in-depth discussion of Steward's career - rising from enslavement to success as a self-made businessman in upstate New York and as leader of the ill-fated Wilberforce Colony in Ontario, Canada. Hodges also expands upon previous recognition of Steward's sizable role in free black activism in the antebellum northern states. Replete with images from Steward's life, this new edition of his classic narrative is stocked with details about the author's relationships with antislavery activists Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, Nathaniel Paul, and Gerrit Smith. The book offers insight into the creation of African American community life in upstate New York and into the doomed black utopia of Wilberforce.
Comprehensive account of slavery in New York State -- long thought to be a bastion of the antislavery movement -- from the importation of blacks in the seventeenth century until its abolition 1841.
The publication of DNA test results showing that Thomas Jefferson was probably the father of one of his slave Sally Hemings's children has sparked a broad but often superficial debate. The editors of this volume have assembled some of the most distinguished American historians, including three Pulitzer Prize winners, and other experts on Jefferson, his times, race, and slavery. Their essays reflect the deeper questions the relationship between Hemings and Jefferson has raised about American history and national culture.
The DNA tests would not have been conducted had there not already been strong historical evidence for the possibility of a relationship. As historians from Winthrop D. Jordan to Annette Gordon-Reed have argued, much more is at stake in this liaison than the mere question of paternity: historians must ask themselves if they are prepared to accept the full implications of our complicated racial history, a history powerfully shaped by the institution of slavery and by sex across the color line.
How, for example, does it change our understanding of American history to place Thomas Jefferson in his social context as a plantation owner who fathered white and black families both? What happens when we shift our focus from Jefferson and his white family to Sally Hemings and her children? How do we understand interracial sexual relationships in the early republic and in our own time? Can a renewed exploration of the contradiction between Jefferson's life as a slaveholder and his libertarian views yield a clearer understanding of the great political principles he articulated so eloquently and that Americans cherish? Are there moral or political lessons to be learned from the lives of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings and the way that historians and the public have attempted to explain their liaison?
Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson: History, Memory, and Civic Culture promises an open-ended discussion on the living legacy of slavery and race relations in our national culture.
Historians have long discussed the interracial families of prominent slave dealers in Richmond, Virginia, and elsewhere, yet, until now, the story of slave trader Bacon Tait remained untold. Among the most prominent and wealthy citizens of Richmond, Bacon Tait embarked upon a striking and unexpected double life: that of a white slave trader married to a free black woman. In The Secret Life of Bacon Tait, Hank Trent tells Tait's complete story for the first time, reconstructing the hidden aspects of his strange and often paradoxical life through meticulous research in lawsuits, newspapers, deeds, and other original records. Active and ambitious in a career notorious even among slave owners for its viciousness, Bacon Tait nevertheless claimed to be married to a free woman of color, Courtney Fountain, whose extended family were involved in the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad. As Trent reveals, Bacon Tait maintained his domestic sphere as a loving husband and father in a mixed-race family in the North while running a successful and ruthless slave-trading business in the South. Though he possessed legal control over thousands of other black women at different times, Trent argues that Tait remained loyal to his wife, avoiding the predatory sexual practices of many slave traders. No less remarkably, Courtney Tait and their four children received the benefits of Tait's wealth while remaining close to her family of origin, many of whom spoke out against the practice of slavery and even fought in the Civil War on the side of the Union. In a fascinating display of historical detective work, Trent illuminates the worlds Bacon Tait and his family inhabited, from the complex partnerships and rivalries among slave traders to the anxieties surrounding free black populations in Courtney and Bacon Tait's adopted city of Salem, Massachusetts. Tait's double life illuminates the complex interplay of control, manipulation, love, hate, denigration, and respect among interracial families, all within the larger context of a society that revolved around the enslavement of black Americans by white traders.
One of the most misunderstood periods in American history, Reconstruction remains relevant today because its central issue -- the role of the federal government in protecting citizens' rights and promoting economic and racial justice in a heterogeneous society -- is still unresolved. America's Reconstruction examines the origins of this crucial time, explores how black and white Southerners responded to the abolition of slavery, traces the political disputes between Congress and President Andrew Johnson, and analyzes the policies of the Reconstruction governments and the reasons for their demise.
America's Reconstruction was published in conjunction with a major exhibition on the era produced by the Valentine Museum in Richmond, Virginia, and the Virginia Historical Society. The exhibit included a remarkable collection of engravings from Harper's Weekly, lithographs, and political cartoons, as well as objects such as sculptures, rifles, flags, quilts, and other artifacts. An important tool for deepening the experience of those who visited the exhibit, America's Reconstruction also makes this rich assemblage of information and period art available to the wider audience of people unable to see the exhibit in its host cities. A work that stands along as well as in proud accompaniment to the temporary collection, it will appeal to general readers and assist instructors of both new and seasoned students of the Civil War and its tumultuous aftermath.
In the first-ever comprehensive analysis of violence between slaves in the antebellum South, Jeff Forret challenges persistent notions of slave communities as sites of unwavering harmony and solidarity. Though existing scholarship shows that intraracial black violence did not reach high levels until after Reconstruction, contemporary records bear witness to its regular presence among enslaved populations. Slave against Slave explores the roots of and motivations for such violence and the ways in which slaves, masters, churches, and civil and criminal laws worked to hold it in check. Far from focusing on violence alone, Forret's work also adds depth to our understanding of morality among the enslaved, revealing how slaves sought to prevent violence and punish those who engaged in it. Forret mines a vast array of slave narratives, slaveholders' journals, travelers' accounts, and church and court records from across the South to approximate the prevalence of slave-against-slave violence prior to the Civil War. A diverse range of motives for these conflicts emerges, from tensions over status differences, to disagreements originating at work and in private, to discord relating to the slave economy and the web of debts that slaves owed one another, to courtship rivalries, marital disputes, and adulterous affairs. Forret also uncovers the role of explicitly gendered violence in bondpeople's constructions of masculinity and femininity, suggesting a system of honor among slaves that would have been familiar to southern white men and women, had they cared to acknowledge it. Though many generations of scholars have examined violence in the South as perpetrated by and against whites, the internal clashes within the slave quarters have remained largely unexplored. Forret's analysis of intraracial slave conflicts in the Old South examines narratives of violence in slave communities, opening a new line of inquiry into the study of American slavery.
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