Legacies links for April 17, 2023: Obscured histories of slavery from Maine to West Virginia

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Stained glass window from Sewanee: The University of the South showing a Confederate flag.
In 2017, Sewanee: The University of the South removed the Confederate and American flags from this stained glass window in the college chapel and rechristened the panel “Reunification.” image source: flickr/Mary Constance
  • “Project Seeks to Document Confederacy & Civil War Memorials on College Campuses,” New York Almanack (April 10, 2023): LINK. Discusses the new Locating Slavery’s Legacies database, which is designed to “collect information about monuments and memorials identified with the Civil War and Confederacy on the campuses of American colleges.” The project is led by a research team from Sewanee: The University of the South as part of the Legacies of American Slavery initiative. 
  • “Roanoke College receives artists’ concepts for enslavement memorial,” The Roanoke (VA) Tribune (April 12, 2023): LINK. “A memorial to recognize and honor the role of enslaved people in the history of Roanoke College and greater Southwest Virginia is now one step closer to becoming a reality.” Roanoke College is an Institutional Affiliate of the Legacies of American Slavery network.
  • Tad Walch, “What is compensated emancipation, and why did Joseph Smith campaign for it?,” Deseret (UT) News (April 13, 2023): LINK. Discusses attitudes towards slavery in the Mormon Church from Joseph Smith onward, on the occasion of an award presented to Russell M. Nelson, current president of the LDS Church, by CIC member (and HBCU) Morehouse College.
  • Mark Lieberman, “Schools Are Confronting Centuries of Racial Injustice. Will They Offer Reparations?,” Education Week (April 11, 2023): LINK. Virginia has set up a scholarship fund for Black residents—and their descendants—who suffered a disruption in education during the Massive Resistance that followed the 1954 Brown decision. The state’s “new education-focused effort to make up for what Black Americans lost over generations of disenfranchisement and discrimination is one of several reparations efforts taking shape across the country.” 
  • “National Park Service publishes two historical studies surfacing tragedy and resilience in Black recreation,” National Park Service (April 3, 2023): LINK. One study “analyzes how race impacted African Americans’ experiences and access to outdoor recreation and leisure resources from the emancipation period in 1865 through the early 21st century.” The second “examines the systematic segregation of six national parks in Virginia.”

Plus, two links about traces of American slavery in unexpected places:

  • Tom Groening, “The shameful history of a ‘notorious’ slave ship captain,” Island Institute (April 11, 2023): LINK. “What is especially shameful about [Capt. Frederick] Drinkwater’s story is that he—and many other Maine and New England-based ship masters—engaged in the slave trade decades after the 1808 U.S. law making it illegal.”
  • “West Virginia’s Legacy of Slavery in Roane County,” Black by God: The West Virginian (April 8, 2023): LINK. “Despite what is or is not being taught in West Virginia classrooms, slavery’s presence in the state was pervasive, with enslaved people in all but one county in 1860.”