freedom · slavery · underground

another great episode of Underground

Another wonderful episode of WGN’s Underground last night. Stine is on the run. Rosalee and Noah, too. Earlier in the day, I shared Stephanie Camp’s Closer to Freedom, an amazing monograph on how black women negotiate freedom on plantations, with a grad student. I told her how historians can intuit a lot with even the… Continue reading another great episode of Underground

empathy · slavery · University of Alabama

the horrors…the bridges…the stories

Tonight as I watch WGN’s “Underground” television drama, which poignantly addresses the issue of slavery by often featuring women on the run, I have in the back of my mind “Why Nott,” an event  I attended at the University of Alabama only a couple of hours ago. “Why Nott” was a culminating discussion concerning the history… Continue reading the horrors…the bridges…the stories

archives · John Hope Franklin · slavery

oklahoma talks prompts memory of a great one

This week, I will speak in Oklahoma as a guest of the Oklahoma Association of Professional Historians and neighboring state chapters of Phi Alpha Theta. As I prepare to travel to Southwestern Oklahoma State University, I am reminded of one of the state’s great natives: the late historian John Hope Franklin. When I was a… Continue reading oklahoma talks prompts memory of a great one

alabama · photography · slavery

talk at Alabama Department of Archives and History went very well today

I had a great talk at the Alabama Department of Archives and History today even though I was running on fumes. Every copy of my book sold at the gift shop. There were wonderful questions from audience. So glad to see so many eager to discuss our complex past and present. The presentation largely focused… Continue reading talk at Alabama Department of Archives and History went very well today

books · slavery

difficult conversations continue this week at state archives

I’m still reeling from seeing the ties between Chance the Rapper’s Best New Artist acceptance speech at last night’s Grammys. His mention of God several times and indeed, his performance beside a choir, pose tensions with today’s lecture in my “American Civilization to 1865” class. I addressed the Enlightenment and Great Awakening, two movements that… Continue reading difficult conversations continue this week at state archives

alabama · Black History Month · courage · slavery

William Bolden Townsend, an Alabama native brings our complex past in view

In honor of Black History Month, I wanted to present William Bolden Townsend. He is a descendant of the Townsends freed by Samuel Townsend, a Huntsville planter who left the bulk of an estate worth $5.1 million in today’s currency to ten enslaved children from five enslaved women and their immediate kin. William Bolden Townsend… Continue reading William Bolden Townsend, an Alabama native brings our complex past in view