The Musée d'Orsay in Paris has just opened an exhibition entitled 'Le modèle noir De Géricault à Matisse,' which attempts to restore the identities and perspectives of black figures depicted on canvas but largely written out of history. This article from the Washington Post focuses on one artwork in the exhibition. The painting by Marie-Guillemine Benoist... Continue Reading →
Randy M. Browne is a historian of slavery and colonialism in the Atlantic world, especially the Caribbean. He is an Associate Professor of History at Xaverian University (Cincinnati). Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean is his first book and he discusses it here with Jessica Parr. via Q&A with Randy M. Browne, author of Surviving Slavery... Continue Reading →
Q&A with Daniel Livesay, author of Children of Uncertain Fortune: Mixed-Race Jamaicans in Britain and the Atlantic Family, 1733-1833 Click here to visit the Junto website and read the Q&A The book has also been reviewed in detail at the Institute of Historical Research 'Reviews in History' site: Click here for the review
History Workshop has published an 1809 letter written by a formerly enslaved woman, Mary Williamson, to her former owner in Jamaica. I know from my own research that uncovering the voices of women in the Caribbean past is extremely difficult, and it is even more so when it comes to enslaved women. Take a look... Continue Reading →
Reviews in History has published a review by Dr Daniel Livesay of the Legacies of British Slave-Ownership website and database. The website was created by a team of researchers at University College London lead by Professor Catherine Hall, and has been live for a few years now. It details claims for compensation submitted by slave-owners at... Continue Reading →
Sometimes the best thing a book can do is make you feel guilty. That is certainly the case with the book I’m gisting today.
There were more enslaved women in the colonial port town of Bridgetown, found on the western edge of Barbados, than any other demographic group. So why do they receive such little attention? Marisa J. Fuentes, in her provocative bookDispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence, and the Archive (UPenn Press, 2016), argues that the traditional archive was constructed in such a way to inflict perpetual violence upon women. Until that narrative is disrupted, historians continue to partake in this original sin. Fuentes’s book is, she explains, an attempt at “redress” (12). Dispossessed Livesfollows the stories of a handful of women in the eighteenth century through the lens of documents that only peripherally mention them: a runaway named Jane, a mulatto brothel, an enslaved woman who was…
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Episode 199 of The Outlander Podcast is an interview with the cast and production team for 1745. I wrote about this film in an earlier post. That post also has links to the work of a team of historians at the University of Glasgow investigating runaway slaves in Scotland. The podcast interview is well worth a listen.... Continue Reading →
This is an excellent article about the way that the curators at the Musée de l’Histoire de Nantes have displayed the portraits of Dominique and Marguerite Deurbroucq—and in particular, the way that the curators draw museum-goers’ attention to the enslaved Africans depicted in the portraits.
In May 2015, theMusée de l’Histoire de Nantes welcomed two of their most influential citizens of the eighteenth century to their permanent collection. The museum, housed in the Château des Ducs de Bretagne, received two portraits – one of Dominique Deurbroucq and the other of his wife Marguerite – both of which feature prominently in the main exhibition on Atlantic slavery and the slave trade in Nantes. Painted in 1753 by Pierre-Bernard Morlot, the Deurbroucqs are portrayed in all of the luxe of the century, accompanied by their domestic slaves who lived with them in Nantes. I recently visited the collection and was particularly interested in the framing of these two portraits within the narrative of the tran-Atlantic slave trade and the history of Nantes.
Pierre-Bernard Morlot, Portraits des Deurbroucq, 1753. (Photo credit to Nathan H. Dize)
For museums, memorial sites, and monuments, context…
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The short film 1745 An Untold Story of Slavery had its first screening last week in Edinburgh for cast, crew and supporters, and soon they are off to Cannes. The film highlights a forgotten part of Scotland’s history: while Scotland was fighting for its national freedom in that fateful year, its economy was in large part founded... Continue Reading →
The link below will take you to an article written by Miles Ogborn, Professor of Geography at Queen Mary University of London. Jamaican Maroons fought two major wars against the British during the 18th century. With reference to maps and views in the King's Topographical Collection, Miles Ogborn investigates this community of escaped slaves and... Continue Reading →
The Voyages Database as we know it today—an open-access website—was launched in the mid-2000s, after initially being released as a subscription-based CD-ROM. Voyages comprises more than 35,000 individual slaving expeditions between 1514 and 1866. The records provide information about vessels, enslaved peoples, slave traders and owners, and trading routes. The Voyages team have recently developed some new features,... Continue Reading →
Black Perspectives, the blog of the African American Intellectual History Society, has published an excerpt from the preface to Professor Beckles's most recent book: The First Black Slave Society: Britain's "Barbarity Time" in Barbados, 1636—1876. In the book, Beckles explores the brutal course of Barbados's history, and argues that the distinct social character and cultural identity of... Continue Reading →