The digital edition of one of the world's preeminent collections for African American studiesis now available for institutional trial. Created from the Library Company of Philadephia’s acclaimed Afro-Americana Collection—an accumulation that began with Benjamin Franklin and steadily increased throughout its entire history—this unique online resource will provide researchers with more than 12,000 printed works. These books, pamphlets, and broadsides, including many lesser-known imprints, hold a matchless record of African American history, literature, and culture.
This long-awaited collection spans nearly 400 years, from the early 16th to the early 20th centuries. Critically important subjects covered include the discovery and exploitation of Africa by the West; the rise of slavery in the New World along with the growth and success of abolitionist movements; the development of racial thought and racism; descriptions of African American life throughout the Americas; slavery and race in fiction and drama; and many others.
According to purehistory.org,Brazil was one of the world’s largest importers of African slaves, obtaining approximately one-third of the slaves taken from Africa during the Atlantic slave trade. It is estimated that more than three million Africans were sent to Brazil as slaves, a far higher number than were imported into North America.¹
As the number of Africans forced to farm cotton and sugar plantations grew from the 16th to the 19th century, the Brazilian economy became highly dependent on slave labor. Even after obtaining independence from Portugal in 1822, Brazil resisted the U.K.-led anti-slavery movement.²
In this issue: celebrating a milestone of African American freedom; China's canal system sparks domestic curiosity and competition; students reveal the history of Radical Republicans; and fetching females hawk clipper-ship trips.
Freedom Bound: The Sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation
By Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Associate Professor of History, University of Delaware, and Director of the Program in African American History, Library Company of Philadelphia
In 2013, people across the United States will celebrate the sesquicentennial of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. As the country approached a third year of bloody civil war, President Abraham Lincoln issued what has become the most symbolic of mandates. Although limited in many ways, the Proclamation stands as a centerpiece in the long struggle to end racial slavery in America, an institution that spanned more than two centuries and brought death and despair to millions of people of African descent. (read article)
Lake Erie by Way of Guangzhou: Or, The Other Canal Boom
By Dael Norwood, Ph.D. Candidate in History, Princeton University
Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling book and film, The Help, brought to life a familiar caricature of African American women, the American “mammy.” Depicted as good humored, overweight, middle-aged, unquestionably loyal and opinionated, the mammy was an important figure in the lives of those white Southern children for whom she was the primary caregiver. In the early part of the 20th century, nostalgia for the lifestyle of the antebellum South, and particularly for the “mammy,” led to the “Mammy memorial movement,” a call for monuments commemorating the archetype throughout the South. Although largely forgotten now, proposals for “Mammy” monuments were covered and debated extensively in newspapers across the nation. Supporters saw the “Mammy” as a figure uniting both African American and white by bonds of affection and unconditional love. In their eyes, the statue was a figure that could help heal the wounds of the Civil War. The statue was often described as “a racial peace monument.”1 Opponents saw the “Mammy memorial movement” as a sentimental recollection that allowed the history of the South to be falsely romanticized and the proposed statue itself as perpetuating a racial stereotype aimed to keep African Americans in low-status occupations. Romantic sentiment for the figure of the “mammy” can be seen in this early poem, published in the Washington (D.C.) Bee in 1910.