Legacies links for July 31, 2023: Undermining history, (Canadian) Emancipation Day, and Pan-African reparations

As always, we encourage you to share this post with friends, students, colleagues, etc. A link does not imply agreement or endorsement by the Council of Independent Colleges. (There were so many stories this week about teaching Black history in Florida, but we limited ourselves to two links.)

An artist’s rendering of Robert Lumpkin’s slave jail—which Mary Lumpkin, an enslaved woman, eventually turned into a school for freedpeople. source: The Smithsonian Magazine

Weekly links:

  • Itzel Luna, “New slavery curriculum in Florida is latest in century of ‘undermining history,'” USA Today (July 27, 2023): LINK. “Florida’s new education plan is the most recent example of a long history of the United States’ failure to adequately represent the institution of slavery and the lingering effects that enslaving humans has had on modern society.”
  • Tolls Olorunnipa, Hannah Natanson, Silvia Foster-Frau, “In fight to lead America’s future, battle rages over its racial past,” Washington Post (July 29, 2023): LINK. Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, defends Florida’s latest history standards, which suggest that “slavery had benefits for some enslaved people.” In the midst of this current episode in the culture wars, the director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund says “there are states that can remove history from a textbook, but they can never destroy the physical places where history happened.”
  • Jasmine Styles, “Tri-State students working to document later years of women who turned enslaver’s jail into a school,” ABC (July 27, 2023): LINK. Graduate students from Mount St. Joseph University, a CIC institution in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Northern Kentucky University, are uncovering the legacy of Mary Lumpkin, an enslaved woman who, upon emancipation, converted a slave jail that once confined her into a school for freedpeople. (That school eventually became CIC member Virginia Union University.)
  • Jazlyn Mooney, Noah Rosenberg, Lily Agranat-Tamir, Jonathan Pritchard, “Researchers Illuminate Centuries of Identity Lost Because of Slavery,” Association of American Universities (July 26, 2023): LINK. A new study by researchers at USC and Stanford aims to fill the gap in many African American family trees by using “computational methods informed by genetic data.” They’ve found that “on average, African Americans born between 1960 and 1965 have about 300 African and 50 European ancestors dating back to 1619.”
  • Ken Sweet, “Citigroup says some predecessor companies likely saw indirect financial benefits from slavery,” MRT (July 27, 2023): LINK. A new report reveals that while companies that now form Citigroup did not directly purchase, sell, or hold enslaved people, some of the companies that Citigroup has purchased over the years have had presidents, directors, and founders that likely held enslaved people. (Not surprising for a bank or insurance firm with roots in the era of slavery.)
  • Heena Mistry, “The importance of Emancipation Day,” Laurier (July 27, 2023): LINK. An insightful articlewith helpful footnotes—about the legacy of slavery in Canada and the country’s relatively new holiday, Emancipation Day.
  • Catarina Demony, “African, Caribbean nations join forces to call for reparations for slavery,” Reuters (July 27, 2023): LINK. The University of the West Indies, the African Union, the government of Barbados, the Caribbean Pan African Network, and other organizations met in Barbados to develop strategies to seek reparations from former colonial powers in Europe.