Legacies links for February 27, 2023: Black history is everywhere—and in very specific places

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Oakwood University’s Slave Cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama. Oakwood, a former plantation, was also the home of Dred Scott for at least a decade. source: Huntsville Real-Time News
  • Lee Roop, “Remembering Dred Scott, an Alabama slave who made American history,” Huntsville Real-Time News (February 22, 2023): LINK. Dred Scott, the enslaved man who unsuccessfully sued for freedom in the infamous Dred Scott v. Sandford case (1857), lived in Alabama between 1821 and 1831. The plantation where Scott lived is the site of CIC member Oakwood University, an HBCU in the Seventh-day Adventist tradition.
  • Melanie Mullen, “Freedom Flows Along the Coasts: Environmental History is Black History,” The Episcopal Church (February 16, 2023): LINK. In a thoughtful piece linking the legacies of slavery to modern conservation efforts and enduring spiritual concerns, Rev. Mullen describes the forgotten sacrifices of courageous Black men and women who tended to the nation’s barrier islands in North Carolina.
  • Asher Lehrer-Small, “Slave Money Paved the Streets. Now This Posh RI City Strives to Teach Its Past,” The 74 (July 20, 2022): LINK. Efforts to highlight Newport’s (and New England’s) forgotten links to slaveholding are facing push-back from community members who are wary of anything resembling CRT.
  • Jenna Russell, “In Vermont, a School and Artist Fight Over Murals of Slavery,” The New York Times (February 21, 2023): LINK. The ongoing legal battle between the painter of a 30-year-old mural depicting slavery (and abolitionism) in Vermont and the students and administrators at Vermont Law School.
  • Jared Council, “Tennessee Council Considers Using Federal Covid Dollars for Reparations Programs,” Forbes (February 22, 2023): LINK. In an effort to reckon with the legacy of slavery in a very specific 785 square miles, lawmakers in Shelby County, Tennessee, are considering “a proposal that would use $5 million [in federal pandemic aid] to help reduce disparities between Black and white residents in wealth, healthcare outcomes and homeownership.”
  • “How American educators can better teach the history of slavery,” WBUR (February 22, 2023): LINK. In a conversation with the hosts of NPR’s “On Point,” historian David Blight (Yale University) and political theorist Danielle Allen (Harvard University) discuss teaching strategies and professional development for teachers—and their parental allies—who want to teach the history of slavery more effectively and honestly. Blight is director of the CIC Legacies of American Slavery initiative.
  • Gregory Pardlo, “The Battle for the Black Soul: On the Poetic Embodiment of the Black Preacher,” Literary Hub (February 21, 2023): LINK. A thoughtful introduction to a new edition of poet James Weldon Johnson’s 1927 work, God’s Trombones. “No text is perfect, but every text reflects something of the historical moment that shaped it,” says Parlo, as he contextualizes a work that does not always conform to current notions of progressive Black thought.