Legacies of American Slavery

  • Why Do We Have a Blog?

    This blog was created to support the larger work of CIC’s Legacies of American Slavery initiative—i.e., to help CIC member colleges and universities; their faculty, staff, and students; and the members of their communities reckon with the multiple legacies of American slavery through research and exploration, teaching and learning, and public-facing programs and engagement.

    The blog offers a mix of background information about the project, updates and highlights from our institutional partners, and curated content about the afterlives of slavery. It is a place to raise questions, to share examples of exemplary work at scores of CIC member colleges (many of which have direct ties to the institution of slavery), and to build a national network of like-minded researchers, teachers, and community members. We hope that visitors will find some useful things in this small corner of the web while learning more about the public contributions of private (independent) colleges and universities.

    We also invite you to contribute to the blog. Please contact us at legaciesproject@cic.edu.

  • The Resource Database
    Decorative image of file cabinets.

    The Legacies of American Slavery network is much bigger than the seven Regional Collaboration Partners. Many CIC member colleges and universities are reckoning with the legacies of slavery through original research, historic or archival preservation, teaching and learning, and public engagement. We have created a resource database to share some of their ongoing work. It is searchable by institution, legacy theme, resource type, and other variables.

    The database was developed in Notion, a multi-function project management platform. The database is displayed as a spreadsheet, which should look familiar to anyone who has used Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel. Each row begins with the name of a CIC member institutions, listed alphabetically. Next to each institution are columns of other relevant information: the resource name, a brief description, the type of resource (e.g., a course syllabus or a digital exhibit), and the primary legacy theme (e.g., “Contested Citizenship” or “Racial Violence”).

    Looking for multiple resources related to a specific legacy of American slavery? Use the filter at the top of the resource database to select any of the legacy themes. (By default the resource database is set to view “ALL.”)

    The database is easy to sort and search!

    The database is not comprehensive. If you know about similar activities at other CIC member institutions, please contact us at LegaciesProject@cic.edu so we can keep adding new resources to the database. Also let us know if you spot any inadvertent errors.

  • Legacies links for March 20, 2023: some recent scholarship illustrating the legacies of slavery

    This week, a selection of recent scholarship related to the legacies of slavery. Access to some of these articles may be limited to subscribers. As always, a link here does not necessarily mean endorsement or agreement by the Council of Independent Colleges. Please share this post — and share with us any relevant articles you may have written (or found).

    Photograph from Negro Education: A Study of the Private and Higher Schools for Colored People in the United States (U.S. Government Printing Office, 1917). source: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library

    Contested Citizenship and the Law

    As these articles remind us, the histories of slavery, freedom, and American law are deeply intertwined.

    • Valerie Sirenko, “Destroyed Documents and Racial Vulnerability in the Literature of Slavery’s Legal Afterlife,” American Literature 95:1 (March 2023): https://doi.org/10.1215/00029831-10345337 (subscription only).

      From the abstract: “This article argues that Black writers throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries produced a critical knowledge of how legal documentation functions to produce racialized structures of power and Black vulnerability at law. In literature that reckons with slavery’s legal afterlife, particularly antebellum slave narratives, post-Reconstruction novels, and neo-slave narratives, Black authors frequently represent legal documents as pivotal to legal personhood and theorize how these documents produce vulnerability to violence and dispossession.”
    • Bennett Parten, “‘The Science of Human Rights’: American Abolitionism and the Language of Human Rights,” Slavery & Abolition (February 2023): https://doi.org/10.1080/0144039X.2023.2173005 (subscription only).

      From the abstract: “Historians of human rights have not had much to say about America’s anti-slavery movement. Scholars tend to focus instead on the early enlightenment or how ideas of human rights emerged over the twentieth century. This essay, however, makes a case for why American abolitionists should be considered early rights pioneers and progenitors of what we know as human rights. It argues that though different factions of the movement had particular conceptions of rights, the movement itself mobilized around a shared rights vision and made this vision of human rights a center piece of America’s anti-slavery crusade.”
    • Geoffrey Heeren, “Immigration Law and Slavery: Rethinking the Migration or Importation Clause,” Wisconsin Law Review 2023:4 (March 2023): https://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4378786 (full text).

      From the abstract: “The traditional account of the origins of federal immigration law mostly glosses over its deep connection to slavery. An examination of that connection calls the constitutional foundation for immigration law into question, alters the calculus for judicial review of federal immigration action, reframes our understanding of federalism, and lays bare the nation’s exploitative dependence on immigrant labor. This article makes this paradigm shift by focusing on a long-neglected textual source for federal immigration power: the Migration or Importation Clause [Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution].”

    Mass Incarceration and Policing

    African Americans are dramatically over-represented in America’s prison population; they are also, disproportionately, the victims of police violence. These articles explore the historical and systemic forces behind these facts.

    • Precious Skinner-Osei and Diny Mercedes, “Collateral Consequences: The Impact of Incarceration on African American Fathers and Their Sons,” Journal of Forensic Social Work 7:1 (2023): https://doi.org/10.15763/issn.1936-9298.2023.7.1.1-13 (full text).

      From the abstract: “For decades researchers [have] linked the effects of parental incarceration to adverse childhood outcomes, including increased likelihood of imprisonment, particularly for African American males. Therefore, this study explored the impact of incarceration on African American fathers and their sons. The data revealed four major [areas of impact]: caregiving, stigma, paternal bonds, and reentry.”
    • Courtney M. Echols, “Anti-Blackness is the American Way: Assessing the Relationship Between Chattel Slavery, Lynchings, & Police Violence During the Civil Rights Movement,” Race and Justice (2022): https://doi.org/10.1177/21533687211073299 (subscription only).

      From the abstract: “Research finds that historical anti-Black violence helps to explain the spatial distribution of contemporary conflict, inequality, and violence in the U.S. Building on this research, the current study examined the spatial relationship between chattel slavery in 1860, lynchings of Black individuals between 1882 and 1930, and anti-Black violence during the Civil Rights Movement era in which police or other legal authorities were implicated. I draw on an original dataset of over 300 events of police violence that occurred between 1954 and 1974 in the sample state of Louisiana, and that was compiled from a number of primary and secondary source documents that were themselves culled from archival research conducted in the state.”
    • Aaron Gottlieb and Kalen Flynn, “The Legacy of Slavery and Mass Incarceration: Evidence from Felony Case Outcomes,” Social Service Review 95:1 (March 2021): https://doi.org/10.1086/713922 (full text).

      From the abstract: “One common explanation for mass incarceration is that it is the latest in a series of institutions created to enforce the racial hierarchy in the United States. Despite this perspective’s prominence, it has been rarely tested empirically with extensive quantitative data. … [We found] that a criminal charge in a county with high levels of slavery in 1860 increases the likelihood [now] of pretrial detention, the probability of a sentence of incarceration, and the length of incarceration sentences. These results hold for the full sample and for Black and White individuals separately.”

    Persistent Inequalities

    Two (among many) areas still marked by systemic inequalities that have deep roots in slavery: home ownership and the healthcare system.

    • Brenda D. Gibson, “The Heirs’ Property Problem: Racial Caste Origins & Systemic Effects in the Black Community,” City University of New York Law Review (2023): https://ssrn.com/abstract=4339700 (full text).

      From the abstract: “This article enters the conversation about Black poverty in a new way — discussing the phenomenon of the heirs’ property ownership model as an impediment to Black wealth. As discussed in this article, heirs’ property is ‘family-owned land that is jointly owned by descendants of a deceased person’ by intestacy. This model of property ownership is found throughout the United States, usually in places with high poverty and minoritized populations. … [J]uxtaposed with the history of Black people in the United States, particularly through the lens of the South Carolina Low Country, and American systems that have birthed and nurtured incalculable inequities … it becomes clear that heirs’ property ownership … was birthed out of America’s racial caste system … [and continues to promote] Black land loss.”
    • Garssandra Presumey-Leblanc and Megan Sandel, “The Legacy of Slavery and the Socialization of Black Female Health and Human Services Workforce Members in Addressing Social Determinants of Health,” Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities (2023): https://doi.org/10.1007/s40615-023-01510-y (subscription only).

      From the abstract and conclusions: “One legacy of slavery and colonialist structures is that minority populations, particularly the Black populations, experience higher rates of poverty, disease, job insecurity, and housing instability today — all indicators of poor health or negative social determinants of health (SDOH). … As sufferers of negative social determinants [themselves], Black women [working in health and human services (HHS)] … use their lived experiences and historical trauma to challenge the systems within which they work.”
  • Legacies links for March 13, 2023: networked resources and racialized threats

    As always, we encourage you to share this post. A link does not imply agreement or endorsement by the Council of Independent Colleges.

    The interior of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, a consortium of four HBCUs (three are CIC members: Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, and Morehouse College). source: Robert W. Woodruff Library.
    • Joyce Jones, “HBCU Library Alliance and Harvard team up to expand access to Black history,” The Harvard Gazette (March 8, 2023): LINK. Last week, “the HBCU Library Alliance and Harvard [University] Library announced a project to sustain and deepen capacity for the digitization, discovery, and preservation of African American history collections held in HBCU libraries and archives across the U.S.” About two dozen CIC members are part of the HBCU Library Alliance.
    • Michael Friedrich, “A Matter of Truth,” John Jay College of Criminal Justice: Research Blog (2022): LINK. Another example of a collaborative project to recover, digitize, and share resources (in this case, records related to the history of enslaved people in the Northeast). One of the main collaborating institutions is CIC member Monmouth University in New Jersey.
    • “White Supremacist Propaganda Soars to All-Time High in 2022,” The Anti-Defamation League (March 8, 2023): LINK. In 2022, the ADL’s Center on Extremism (COE) tracked a significant expansion in white supremacist propaganda, targeting Blacks, Jews, immigrants, and members of the LGBTQ+ community (usually in some combination).
    • Anissa Durham, “Black Children Deserve to be Children,¨ The Seattle Medium (March 8, 2023): LINK. Anti-Blackness and the adultitification of Black children are a legacy of slavery that directly impacts Black students in the classroom–even in Latin American/Hispanic spaces, the Black teenaged students in this article suggest they have been treated differently because of their race and their mature bodies: “Black youth become so accustomed and, in some ways, normalize the surveillance of their bodies. We are conditioned or trained to limit our expression, to monitor what we do with our bodies, to shrink. Because if we’re too big, if we’re too loud, if we are too outspoken, if we stand out too much, this can come with detrimental and sometimes fatal consequences.” 
    • Adam Bradley, “Building a New Canon of Black Literature,” The New York Times (March 7, 2023): LINK. Bradley, founding director of Laboratory for Race and Popular Culture at UCLA, notes that “[literary] canons may enshrine the past, [but] they are instruments of the present. So what do readers require of Black American literature today? Works that confront the resurgence of white supremacy. Works that challenge orthodoxies of racial representation. Works that unsettle assumptions about gender and sexual identity. Works that expand the frames of formal experimentation. Works that imagine Black futures.”
    • Min Chen, “Artist Josie Williams Trained A.I. Chatbots on the Literary Achievements of Black Authors. The Result? ‘Virtual Poetry’,” Artnet News (March 8, 2023): LINK. In a completely different approach to rethinking the canon of Black cultural creativity, Williams “used the words of radical Black thought leaders in an A.I. dataset, so that was the only thing that a chatbot could use to formulate responses about itself or the world.”
  • Historic photo of lynching victim George Hughes.
    George Hughes (left), shortly before he was lynched by a white mob in Sherman, Texas (1930). Rioters also burned down the county courthouse and a significant portion of the Black business district. source: The Washington Post

    Guest contributor: Felix Harcourt

    Note: Austin College (Sherman, TX) is a Regional Collaboration Partner in the Legacies of American Slavery network.

    The Ghanaian concept of sankofa—loosely translated to mean looking back in order to move forward—has been a recurrent theme in the work that faculty, staff, and students at Austin College have taken on in recent years to help our community wrestle with our local history of racial violence and resistance. Our campus sits in north Texas, in the city of Sherman, site of a 1930 riot that began with the lynching of a black farm laborer, George Hughes, and ended with the destruction of the city’s thriving black business district. Our recent efforts are not the first time that those in this area have tried to tell this story, but that history has long been denied, mangled, or actively hidden.

    In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, we witnessed new community efforts to reckon honestly with these past injustices and an insistence on continuing the decades-long tradition of entrenched resistance to facing that historical truth. To this day, there are those in the area who refuse to call the murder of Hughes a lynching, clinging to the tendentious argument that he was killed by fire rather than by hanging. Too many are made too uncomfortable by the idea that the violent legacies of American slavery hang over their own personal histories. We need look no further than the efforts to restrict what students in Texas public schools can learn and understand to know what power such feelings still hold.

    In the last two years, though, there have been real signs of change. After a long and bruising foray into local politics, a community effort to have a marker erected on the county courthouse lawn recognizing the events of 1930 has been approved by the Texas State Historical Commission. As our community has begun to face some of the darkest parts of its history, we have also begun to see again some of the brightest stories of hope and resistance. A walking tour of black history in the city—a Sankofa Journey—has drawn crowds large enough to require a police escort. Efforts are underway to publicly commemorate and celebrate the vibrancy and success of the historic black business district. And planned historical markers include not only the story of George Hughes but also the story of William J. Durham, the local pioneering civil rights attorney who argued landmark desegregation and voting rights cases. 

    While the struggle to bring the whole of these histories to light is ongoing, we at Austin College have been able to forge new relationships with educators across the state and region. We are trying to model and encourage similar struggles with local history in the collaborative effort to see an enduring change in public understanding of such legacies.

    Felix Harcourt is an assistant professor of history at Austin College and the lead faculty member on Austin’s Legacies of American Slavery project team. His research and teaching focus on the history of prejudice, politics, and popular culture in the modern United States, especially the 1920s and New Deal era. He is the author of Ku Klux Kulture: America and the Klan in the 1920s (University of Chicago Press, 2017). The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Austin College or the Council of Independent Colleges. 

  • Legacies links for March 6, 2023: A Weekly Roundup

    As always, we encourage you to share this post. A link does not imply agreement or endorsement by the Council of Independent Colleges.

    An advertisement for an electric-gasoline hybrid car invented by Black inventor Granville Woods (1916).
    Prolific inventor Granville T. Woods (1856–1910) was sometimes called the “Black Thomas Edison.” A company he founded was selling hybrid (gasoline-electric) cars in 1916 — almost a century before the Prius. image source: Wikimedia Commons

    Some general links:

    • Christopher Cicchiello, “How to respond to ‘All lives matter’ and more: An ex-neo-Nazi offers advice,” Today (March 5, 2021): LINK. Some raw (and potentially triggering) insights into the racist mindset.
    • Julian Zelizer, “Uncovering the forgotten history of slavery in the North,” CNN (March 2, 2023): LINK. A new project aims to recover the identities of more than 700 enslaved Black and Native American people at the South Fork of Long Island, New York, piecing together the legacies of the transatlantic slave trade in the North.
    • David Brancaccio and Erika Soderstrom, “The consequences of underestimating the racial wealth gap,” Marketplace (March 2, 2023): LINK. “[Many Americans] underestimate the severity of racial economic inequality in this country — by a lot.”
    • Manann Donoghoe and Andre M. Perry, “The case for climate reparations in the United States,” Brookings Institution (March 2023): LINK. “Because the impacts of climate change are accelerating,” say the authors, “what’s needed is not just a wealth transfer to redress legacies of injustice, but a shift toward a more equitable and antiracist climate change policy.”
    • Michael E. Ruane, “A casket holder, an airship and a list of pioneering Black inventors,” The Washington Post (February 27, 2023): LINK. Celebrating innovation through a list of Black inventors compiled by patent examiner and civil rights activist Henry E. Baker at the end of the nineteenth century.
    • Jack Molmud, “What we can learn from the life and legacy of Prince McLellan, an enslaved Mainer,” News Center Maine (February 21, 2023): LINK. McLellan “escaped enslavement [in Maine] to fight in the Revolutionary War.” Now, a descendant of the family that enslaved him is working with the Atlantic Black Box Project to recover his history.

    News about CIC member institutions:

    • Liam Knox, “A law school’s ‘denaming’ evokes donor family’s ire,” Inside Higher Education (March 1, 2023): LINK. In another theater of the culture wars, when CIC member University of Richmond voted to remove a slaveholding donor’s name from its law school, his descendants (and others) launched a legal and digital campaign against the institution.
    • “St. Olaf offers trip that traces the history of the civil rights movement,” St. Olaf College (February 28, 2023): LINK. Even alumni programs can be opportunities to teach about the legacies of slavery: Prof. David Booth leads alumni from CIC member St. Olaf College on study tours through the landscape of the Civil Rights Movement.
    • “Center for Anti-Slavery Studies Collection gifted to Weinberg Memorial Library,”University of Scranton (February 23, 2023): LINK. The University of Scranton, a CIC member, has received a gift of teaching and research materials from the community-based Center for Anti-Slavery Studies. The collection includes materials related to Black Pennsylvanians, the Underground Railroad, the abolition movement, and the Civil Rights Movement.
  • We are thrilled to share the news about an exciting new digital history site from Shenandoah University (an Institutional Affiliate of the Legacies of American Slavery network) — “The Spirit of Freedom”: Preserving Emancipation’s Legacy in the Shenandoah Valley.

    Students and faculty from Shenandoah University, CIC member Bridgewater College, Mary Baldwin College, and the Winchester City (Va.) Public Schools all contributed to the creation of this site, which contains primary sources, biographical sketches, classroom activities aligned with Virginia’s Standards of Learning (SOLs), timeline, and suggested reading. Here is the official announcement:

    Banner image from the "Spirit of Freedom" project at Shenandoah University.

    After more than two years of research, writing, and site-building, Shenandoah University’s McCormick Civil War Institute, an affiliate member of CIC’s Legacies of American Slavery Project, debuted its digital history site “The Spirit of Freedom”: Preserving Emancipation’s Legacy in the Shenandoah Valley on February 22. The site currently contains more than 100 primary sources that illuminate the ways African Americans in the Shenandoah Valley celebrated Emancipation in the decades after the conflict and the various obstacles they confronted.

    While documents reveal that Emancipation day was celebrated at different times of the year, not something unique to the Shenandoah Valley, and in various localities throughout the Shenandoah, no community in the Valley became a more powerful place to celebrate slavery’s end and challenge the Lost Cause’s distortion of slavery’s reality than Harpers Ferry. The scene of John Brown’s raid in the autumn of 1859, Harpers Ferry, as the documents on the site reveal, proved a critical location for annual Emancipation day gatherings and became a magnet for various groups devoted to African American social and political equality including the National League of Colored Women, the Niagara Movement, and NAACP. Documents on the site reveal the power of John Brown’s fort as an important symbol in the fight for equality and justice. 

    Additionally, the site contains biographical sketches of individuals who played important roles in commemorating Emancipation and challenging the Lost Cause. Among the personalities explored on the site are:

    ➢Jasper Thompson, a veteran of the 23rd United States Colored Troops from Charles Town, West Virginia, who became a prominent fixture at Emancipation day celebrations in the northern Shenandoah Valley and

    ➢Pearl Tatten, a Yale-educated music instructor at Storer College who delivered an impromptu address at the dedication of the Heyward Shepherd monument in Harpers Ferry in 1931 condemning the perpetuation of lies promulgated by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

    The site also contains classroom activities aligned with Virginia’s Standards of Learning, suggested reading, and timeline. 

    Prof. Jonathan A. Noyalas, director of Shenandoah University’s McCormick Civil War Institute supervised the project and received critical support from the following individuals in developing the site: Alana Gill (student, Mary Baldwin College); Caitlyn Graulau (student, Shenandoah University); Jamie Hunstad (student, Shenandoah University); Douglas Jackson (student, Shenandoah University); Brennan Komelasky (student, Shenandoah University); Stephen Longenecker, Ph.D (professor emeritus Bridgewater College); Anne Marchant, PhD (Division of Applied Technology, Shenandoah University); Callista Maybery (student, Shenandoah University); Emily Mullen (student, Shenandoah University); Chris Nelson (independent researcher); Brandy N. Noyalas (social studies teacher, Winchester City Public Schools), and Steven Stabler (student, Shenandoah University). Technical support was provided by the Omeka team. The Community Foundation of the Northern Shenandoah Valley, Boxley-Fox Endowment Fund provided additional financial support.

    The site, which will continue to grow in the coming months and years, can be accessed at mcwi.omeka.net.

    Contact Jonathan Noyalas for more details.

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

    As always, we encourage you to share this post. A link does not imply agreement or endorsement by the Council of Independent Colleges.

    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.
  • Image of a calas vendor in New Orleans (c. 1886)

    To help celebrate Mardi Gras we asked Zella Palmer, director of Dillard University’s Ray Charles Program in African American Material Culture and a leading scholar of African American foodways, to recommend a distinctly New Orleans recipe. She selected a recipe for calas (KAH-luhs) — sweet, deep-fried fritters made from leftover rice that were typically sold in the 19th century by female African American street vendors, both before and after emancipation.

    This particular recipe was provided by New Orleans historian and social worker Madame Barbara Trevigne. It appears in Palmer’s 2019 compilation, Recipes and Remembrances of Fair Dillard, 1869-2019 (University of Louisiana Press).

    To learn more about Dillard’s work as a Partner in the Legacies of American Slavery initiative, visit the Ray Charles Program’s website and YouTube channel.

    This image of a calas vendor accompanied an article by George W. Cable in the February 1886 issue of Century Magazine.

    The text is transcribed below or you can download a PDF copy.


    • 2 cups of mushy cold rice
    • 6 teaspoons of flour
    • 3 heaping tablespoons of sugar
    • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla
    • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh nutmeg
    • Powdered sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • Peanut oil or vegetable oil


    Mix the cold mushy rice and dry ingredients together thoroughly. Add the eggs and when thoroughly mixed, drop by spoonful into hot deep oil in 360 degree temperature. Fry until golden brown and drain on brown paper bag. Sprinkle literally with powdered sugar. Serve hot. Calas should never be eaten cold.

    Overcook the rice the day before and keep in refrigerator. Maintain mixture below 70 degrees because the batter will separate when dropped in the hot oil. If you are planning on cooking lots of Calas, be sure to keep the ingredients in the refrigerator. If not, the consistency of the mixture will become watery and separate. It has to remain cold.


    Tout chaud calas, Tout chaud calas
    Belle calas, Belle calas
    Tout Chaud Calas, donnez moi un picayune
    Belle Calas, Monsieur et Madame. Pour vous.


    Merchants in New Orleans frequently called and sang out their items for sale to attract customers. One popular vendor was the calas lady. The calas lady could be found selling her delicious calas near the St. Louis Catholic Church, or walking along the levee by the Mississippi River. Each merchant sang a catchy tune about their item to attract the housewife. When the call of the vendor was heard, women do-popped (peeping through their shutters) and came out to inspect and purchase the goods. Not only were there food merchants, there was the rag man, the fruit man, and the Cowan man who traveled first by mule-drawn carts, which graduated to trucks. It was the cadence of their songs and the freshness of their food that made a good dinner. Calas was breakfast Mardi Gras morning and after First Communion (Little Communion), with hot chocolate.

    The memory of my maternal grandmother Emily Broyard Trevigne making calas, and the smell of her calas, fill my heart with joy. The simplicity of food makes a family gathering a treasure trove of love.

  • Legacies links for February 20, 2023: Frederick Douglass, Reconstruction, the Black Campus Movement—all still relevant!

    As always, we encourage you to share this post. A link does not imply agreement or endorsement by the Council of Independent Colleges.

    A mural of Frederick Douglass in Belfast, Ireland
    A Frederick Douglass mural in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Irish on both sides of the border still remember that he visited their land during the Great Famine. source: amanderson2 via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
    • Henry Louis Gates, Jr., “Who’s Afraid of Black History?,” New York Times (February 17, 2023): LINK (may require a free NYT account to read). “Lurking behind the concerns of Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, over the content of a proposed high school course in African American studies, is a long and complex series of debates about the role of slavery and race in American classrooms.”
    • Erin Blakemore, “The origin of African American studies, explained,” National Geographic (February 13, 2023): LINK (must share an email address to read the full story). An introduction to the Black Campus Movement of the 1960s that inspired the creation of African American studies departments on many college campuses. The author also cites research that students who enroll in ethnic studies classes “are more academically engaged, develop a greater sense of self-efficacy and personal empowerment, perform better academically and graduate at higher rates.”
    • Ron Cassie, “On His Birthday: Remembering Frederick Douglass’ Exile in Ireland,” Baltimore Magazine (February 14, 2023): LINK. Frederick Douglass’s understanding of freedom in the United States was influenced by contemporary freedom movements across the Atlantic world, in Ireland (which he visited in 1845), France, Latin America, and elsewhere.
    • Gabrielle Hays, “How St. Louis is approaching the question of reparations for Black citizens,” PBS NewsHour (February 13, 2023): LINK. St. Louis joins the work being done in other cities and states to investigate the legacies of slavery and propose reparations. St. Louis, home of the Dred Scott Courthouse, has “a long history of racist practices from hosting the trade of enslaved peoples along the riverfront to the bulldozing of entire Black communities in the 1950s.”
    • Miguel Schor and Erin Lain, “A diverse Supreme Court grapples with affirmative action, with its justices of color split sharply on the meaning of ‘equal protection,’” The Conversation (February 15, 2023): LINK. The outcome of two affirmative action cases now before the Court will hinge on divergent interpretations of the 14th Amendment and the contested legacy of Reconstruction.
    • “Oldest schoolhouse for Black children in U.S. moving to museum,” CBS 19 News (Charlottesville, VA) (February 10, 2023): LINK. The historic Bray School building, where enslaved and freed Black students were educated c. 1760–1774, is being moved from the campus of William & Mary to Colonial Williamsburg for restoration and interpretation.
    • “[Historian] Co-Authors Groundbreaking Book, ‘Five Hundred African Voices,’” Columbia College Chicago (February 13, 2023): LINK. A new book co-authored by Robert Hanserd (Columbia College Chicago) and Aaron Fogleman (Northern Illinois University) compiles “accounts by African slave ship survivors who told someone about their lives in their homelands or in the places they were taken after enslavement.” The self-explanatory title is Five Hundred African Voices: A Catalog of Published Accounts by Africans Enslaved in the Transatlantic Slave Trade, 1586-1936 (and most of the accounts are free to download). Columbia College Chicago is an Institutional Affiliate of the Legacies of American Slavery network.
    • Christopher J. Kellerman, “Slavery and the Catholic Church: It’s time to correct the historical record,” America: The Jesuit Review (February 15, 2023): LINK. A Jesuit scholar discusses the Church’s ambivalent record on slavery (e.g., in 1839 Pope Gregory XVI condemned the slave trade but not slavery itself). He also calls for a “reconciliation process … to repair the harm caused by the injustices our church perpetuated.”
  • What’s New in the Resource Database?

    The Resource Database is a useful, searchable resource for any individual, academic program, or institution that needs inspiration to help reckon with the legacies of American slavery in their own communities. Compiled from the activities of dozens of CIC member colleges, the Resource Database provides a carefully curated list of what institutions and scholars across the nation are doing to tackle each legacy theme. The database includes archival collections, scholarly monographs, institutional reports, course syllabi, public programs, news articles, and more.

    We welcome you—we urge you!—to contribute to the database. Every entry can help students, scholars, and communities engage with the afterlives of slavery in thoughtful, practical ways.

    Here are just a few of the examples from the rapidly expanding database:

    clipping from an 1852 speech by William C. Nell

    The Black Abolitionist Digital Archive, hosted by University of Detroit Mercy in Michigan, is a collection of over 800 speeches by antebellum Black leaders and approximately 1,000 editorials between the 1820s to the Civil War. These important documents provide a portrait of black involvement in the anti-slavery movement; scans of these documents are provided as images and PDF files. Above is part of a newspaper account of an 1852 speech by Black author/activist/civil servant William C. Nell, encouraging unenfranchised white women to support the cause of abolition through persuasion—one of the teachable documents in the archive.

    At Willamette University in Oregon, a professor and a group of students (above) were the driving force behind a recent ballot initiative to remove the “slavery exception” (i.e., as a punishment for crime) from the state constitution.The effort began as a project in Prof. Melissa Buis Michaux’s “Reforming Criminal Justice” class. Download the syllabus.

    At Rhodes College in Tennessee, a task force came together to think about renaming the oldest building on campus, Palmer Hall. Palmer was named for Benjamin Palmer, a minister and fierce segregationist. Together, the task force settled on renaming the above building Southwestern Hall in 2019. Read the task force’s report.

    Want to Contribute to the Database?

    The database is designed to reflect the teaching, research, collections, and public engagements of the 660-plus colleges and universities that are members of the Council of Independent Colleges. If you are associated with a CIC member institution and you can answer YES to any of the following questions, you probably have a link to contribute to the resource database.

    • Are you doing work in your community to think about any of the legacies of slavery?
    • Does your teaching or research consider slavery or any of the afterlives of slavery?
    • Does your college have a committee or task force that is thinking about the institution’s historical entanglement with slavery? Is the institution thinking about renaming buildings or removing monuments (or perhaps building new monuments)?
    • Does your campus have a direct geographic link to slavery (say, as a stop on the Underground Railroad) or the history of race relations that you think others should know about?
    • Does the campus library have any collections (digital or on paper) that reflect the histories of enslavement and freedom in your community, your state, or your region?
    • Is there a new article or monograph, by you or someone else on the faculty, that addresses your institution’s histories of enslavement and freedom, or the afterlives of slavery in your community?
    • Is there an oral history or documentary project in the works designed to tell a more inclusive story about your institution?
    • Are your students creating works of art or scholarship or engaging with members of the community to consider the ongoing impact of slavery on issues of justice and equality?

    This list of questions is hardly exhaustive! If you’re working on a campus DEI initiative, a digital exhibit about race and justice, a novel or play about slavery or resistance, a museum exhibit, a policy center, a new academic program related to environmental justice—or any other initiative that reckons with the history and long shadow of American slavery—we want to highlight and share your work.

    Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis and are subject to review before inclusion in the database. Please send questions or links to legaciesproject@cic.edu.

  • Legacies links for February 13, 2023: Black history, reparations, and the great outdoors

    As always, we encourage you to share this post. A link does not imply agreement or endorsement by the Council of Independent Colleges.

    Samford University’s Racial Reconciliation Memorial in Birmingham, Alabama, also honors the legacy of Harry, an enslaved African American who helped save students during a fire on the campus in 1854. source: Samford University
    • Russell Contreras, “Black history booms as states restrict it,” Axios (February 6, 2023): LINK. “Red states are limiting Black history lessons in public schools at the same time scholars are producing groundbreaking new works around art, slavery, civil rights, and the Great Migration.” Includes links to several new books and teaching resources.
    • Chad Williams, “W.E.B. Du Bois, Black History Month and the importance of African American studies,” The Conversation (February 7, 2023): LINK. More than 70 years ago, Du Bois explained “how the teaching of African American history has always challenged racist and exclusionary narratives of the nation’s past.”
    • Kameron Brown, “Samford Preserves and Honors Black History,” Samford University (February 6, 2023): LINK. A round-up of archival materials and other campus resources related to slavery and the struggle for racial equality held by CIC member Samford University (Birmingham, Alabama).
    • “Nearly three quarters of Southerners believe U.S. should offer African Americans some form of reparations to address slavery,” Business Wire (February 8, 2023): LINK. A summary of results from the latest “Survey of the South” from E Pluribus Unum (the nonpartisan group founded by former NOLA mayor Mitch Landrieu). “This year’s data highlights a significant sentiment shift in terms of Southerners’ willingness to support reparations.”
    • Maya Srikrishnan, “True reparations aren’t limited to money,” The Center for Public Integrity (February 10, 2023): LINK. African Americans in California are de-emphasizing one big check as reparations and are instead focusing on reparations as equal access to education, employment, healthcare, and housing.
    • Heather Greenwood Davis, “How reading the night sky helped Black Americans survive,” National Geographic (February 3, 2023): LINK. Also discusses the small but growing number of Black astronomers: “From tracking the seasons to ‘following the gourd’ to freedom, knowledge of the stars was imperative for enslaved Africans. Their descendants are reclaiming those ties.”
    • Kiley Bense, “In Louisiana, Climate Change Threatens the Preservation of History,” Inside Climate News (February 4, 2023): LINK. Whitney Plantation in Louisiana presents a growing example of the ongoing climate crisis and joins historical and archaeological treasures around the world that must be sufficiently protected now so as not to lose their irreplaceable resources.
    • Stacey Sheridan, “Park district cancels controversial cooking camp,” Wednesday Journal (February 7, 2023): LINK. The Park District of Oak Park, Illinois, cancelled a summer camp program for children “based on the foods found during the Transatlantic Slave Trade” in the face of criticism from some community members. The program, which was developed by Black educators and focused on the persistence of African foodways, had been offered successfully several times in Texas. 
    • Jalen Brown, “Black students are less likely to attain college degrees because of discrimination and external responsibilities, study finds,” CNN (February 9, 2023): LINK. A new study from the Lumina Foundation highlights the additional burdens and discrimination that many Black students face at historically white colleges and universities. These systemic challenges are especially notable at for-profit institutions.