Comparative Slavery and Emancipation in the Atlantic World
History 441/541
Fall 2003

Dale Graden
Mondays 5-7
Admin 204

Office: Admin 305 A; telephone: 885-8956
Office hour: Monday 9-10, or by appointment
This syllabus is available online

The purpose of this course is to offer an overview of the rise and fall of African slavery in the Americas from the 15th to 19th centuries. Through readings, discussion and films, we shall analyze how slavery became the predominant mode of production in the Americas until the late 19th century. Emphasis in this course is placed on African-American cultural expression and slave resistance in all of its manifestations.

My goal is for this course to be a unique opportunity for us to read and reflect upon the historical underpinnings of international race relations. W.E.B. Du Bois wrote in the early 20th century that issues related to race would be among the most important challenges to North Americans in the 20th century. His words have proven prophetic, not only for North America, but for the world. Race and racism present provocative and complex questions. This class will give us a chance to read about, discuss and seek solutions to questions and dilemmas we face as individuals and regions.

It is important that you attend the seminar every Monday evening and participate in the discussions. At every class meeting there will be opportunities for an exchange of ideas. A course of this nature can only be successful through your active involvement and participation. I encourage debate and questions. Feel free to question my interpretations. I want our class to be an environment where each of you is challenged to think critically about the complex questions faced by all inhabitants of the Americas. I am hopeful that this course inspires you to grapple with themes related to slavery, emancipation and modern-day race relations.

I reserve the right to determine a grade based on attendance and participation. If you miss more than three class meetings during the semester without an excuse, your final mark will drop by a grade. If you cannot attend a class for health or other legitimate reasons, please inform me by email. I want to emphasize that we all benefit by your commitment to this class from beginning to end.

You will be required to write three book critiques of 3-4 typewritten pages during the semester. Each paper is worth twenty-five (25) points and your participation is worth twenty-five (25) points. There are no formal written examinations in this course.

If you are taking this class for graduate credit, I request that you write an extra paper of five to ten (5-10) pages on a topic of your choice. This paper will be worth thirty (30) points, and the final grade of graduate students will be based on 130 points.

The 3-4 page critiques of a single book are assigned to all students to ensure that you read the book thoroughly and come to the class meetings prepared to share your insights. Your paper should address some theme(s) that you consider relevant and worthy of analysis. I would prefer not to receive a superficial overview of the book in these short essays. Rather, point out what you consider to be key arguments of the author and write about them. Donít hesitate to make comparisons to other books or to express your own opinions or interpretations. Good examples of book critiques can be found in The New York Review of Books and other magazines and journals which provide critical analyses of recent publications.

Please, write the critique two or three days before the due date, so that you can return to the computer the day before you hand it to me and make corrections and refinements. I have read hundreds of these short papers, and I know when someone has scribbled down a bunch of ideas the night before and when the assignment has been approached seriously. I believe that these short papers are among the most important exercises that you can do as a student at a university. Why do I believe this, you ask! Because the majority of students graduate from universities and colleges across the land unable to read and write effectively. You are welcome to rewrite a critique; any paper you submit a second time will be taken into consideration when I determine the final grade. You are also welcome to write as many times as you wish, and I will read each of your papers with great interest.

Please feel free to contact me by email with regards to any questions related to the papers or the course. I also encourage you to take advantage of my office hour if you feel that you need suggestions or advice of any sort.

A helpful and concise description of how to write a book critique can be found at

The book critiques are due in class on the day that we discuss the reading assigned for that week. Be sure to have the critique with you to hand in at the class meeting, and be prepared to share your ideas to fellow members of the class. Some of my most important insights and intellectual growth have come out of these discussions. Late papers are not accepted. I will return the essay to you at the following class meeting. You are welcome and encouraged to rewrite the paper after reviewing my comments and suggestions. The grade will not change, but I do take into consideration revisions of essays. Also, you are welcome to write as many times as you like; I pay close attention to such efforts. Make the papers interesting; use your creativity. I get very high when I read words and thoughts which pique my curiosity.

Everyone is required to write the first short paper on Charles Johnson, Middle Passage. That first critique is due on Monday, 15 September. After the first writing assignment, you have a choice of twp other critiques from the assigned readings for the course. If there is a particular book you would like to critique and that is related in some way to the topics we are addressing, please let me know and we can consider it.

The books below are available for purchase at the UI Bookstore and are on reserve in the UI library.

Robert Harms, The Diligent: A Voyage Through the Worlds of the Slave Trade Basic Books ISBN 0465028721

Charles Johnson, Middle Passage Plume 0452266386

Guy Endore, Babouk Monthly Review Press 085345745

Mary Prince, Sarah Salih, The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave Penguin USA 0140437495

C. Peter Ripley, Witness for Freedom UNC Press 0807844047

Robert Conrad, Children of Godís Fire Penn State Press 0271011211

Miguel Barnet, Biography of a Runaway Slave Curbstone 1880684187

Monday August 25: No class

Please begin reading Johnson, Middle Passage, and Harris, The Diligent
Recommended : Madge Dresser, "Slavery's Living Legacy" The Guardian Observer, 17 July 2003,12271,999979,00.html

September 1 Labor Day, no class

September 8 Literature as History
discussion of Johnson, Middle Passage

September 15 Portuguese and European empires; Did Europe "Underdevelop" Africa with the slave trade?
First required book critique is due on Johnson, Middle Passage
begin reading: Harris, The Diligent

September 22 International Slave Trade to the Americas
discussion of Harris, The Diligent (optional critique two is due)
Recommended is W. Jeffrey Bolster, Black Jacks: African American Seamen in the Age of Sail
View a short segment of "Sankofa"

September 29 Slave systems and slave resistance
begin, Endore, Babouk
Recommended is Robert J. Allison, editor and introduction, The Interesting Narrative of the Live of Olaudah Equino, Written by Himself (Boston: St. Martin's Press, 1995), or:
Paul Edwards, editor, Equiano's Travels: His Autobiography; The Interesting Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa the African (Oxford, England: Heinemann, 1967)

view "A Soul of Africa"

October 6 Haiti's Revolution 1791-1804
discussion of Endore, Babouk (optional critique three is due)

View "Haiti: Dance of the Spirit"

Recommended is the following website about the Haitian Revolution:

October 13 Caribbean slavery
begin Salih, The History of Mary Prince

View "The Last Supper"

Recommended is the website: Slave Resistance: A Caribbean Study at

October 20 Capitalism and Antislavery
discussion of Salih, The History of Mary Prince (optional critique four is due)

view part of Frontline on the burnings of US African American churches in 1990s

October 27 US South
begin Ripley, Witness for Freedom

view part of "Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives"

November 3 Comparative Abolitions
discussion of Ripley, Witness for Freedom (optional critique five is due)

November 10 Slave trade and slavery in Brasil; the end of the slave trade to Brasil, 1850-51.
begin Conrad, Children of God's Fire

November 17 Abolition in Brasil
discussion of Conrad, Children of God's Fire (optional critique six is due)


December 1 Cuban slavery in the 19th century
begin Barnet, Biography of a Runaway Slave

December 8 Cuba: Liberation and the Spanish-Cuban-American War 1868-98; conclusions
discussion of Barnet, Biography of a Runaway Slave (optional critique seven is due)

Selected Bibliography

International Slave Trade, Slavery, Emancipation, the Black Atlantic:

John Thornton, Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1680
Robin Blackburn, The Making of New World Slavery: From the Baroque to the Modern, 1492-1800
Robin Blackburn, The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery, 1776-1848
Hugh Thomas, The Slave Trade: The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1440-1870
David Brion Davis, The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770-1823
David Brion Davis, Slavery and Human Progress
David Eltis, Economic Growth and the Ending of the Transatlantic Slave Trade
David Eltis, The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas
Barbara Solow, Slavery and the rise of the Atlantic System
James Walvin, Black Ivory: A History of British Slavery
Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa
Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Written by Himself
Stelamaris Coser, Bridging the Americas: The Literature of Paule Marshall, Toni Morrison, and Gayl Jones
Maria Diedrich et al., Black Imagination and the Middle Passage
Bruce Chatwin, The Viceroy of Ouidah
Barry Unsworth, Sacred Hunger
Charles Johnson, Middle Passage


Hilary Beckles and Verene Shepherd, eds., Caribbean Slave Society and Economy
Barbara Bush, Slave Women in Caribbean Society, 1650-1838
Franklin W. Knight and Colin Palmer, eds., The Modern Caribbean
Fernando Ortiz, Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and Sugar, trans. Harriet De Onis (Durham: Duke University Press, 1995 [1947])
Miguel Barnet, Biography of a Runaway Slave
Walter Rodney, A History of the Guyanese Working People, 1881-1905
Martin Ros, Night of Fire: The Black Napoleon and the Battle for Haiti, trans. Karin Ford-Treep


Robert Edgar Conrad, Children of God's Fire: A Documentary History of Black Slavery in Brazil
Jo„o Josť Reis, Slave Rebellion in Brazil: The Muslim Uprising of 1835 in Bahia, trans. Arthur Brakel
Hendrik Kraay, Culture and Politics in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Afro-Bahia
Ruth Landes, City of Women
Amelia Simpson, Xuxa: The Mega-Marketing of Gender, Race, and Modernity
Abdias do Nascimento, Brazil: Mixture or Massacre; Essays on the Genocide of a Black People
Kim D. Butler, Freedoms Given, Freedoms Won: Afro-Brazilians in Post-Abolition S„o Paulo and Salvador
Phyllis Galembo, Divine Inspiration: From Benin to Bahia
David J. Hellwig, ed., African-American Reflections on Brazil's Racial Paradise
France Windham Twine, Racism in a Racial Democracy: The Maintenance of White Supremacy in Brazil
Caetano Veloso, Tropical Truth: A Story of Music and Revolution in Brazil
Christopher Dunn, Brutality Garden: Tropicalia and the Emergence of a Brazilian Counterculture


John Hope Franklin and Alfred A. Moss, Jr., From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans, 8th edition
Robin D.G. Kelley and Earl Lewis, To Make Our World Anew: A History of African Americans
Darlene Clark Hine et al., The African-American Odyssey
Adam Fairclough, Better Day Coming: Blacks and Equality, 1890-2000
Ira Berlin, Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America
Robert William Fogel, Without Consent or Contract: The Rise and Fall of American Slavery
Winthrop Jordan, White over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-1812
W.E.B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880
Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877
C. Peter Ripley,, Witness for Freedom: African American Voices on Race, Slavery, and Emancipation
William H. Chafe, Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South
Paul Goodman, Of One Blood: Abolitionism and the Origins of Racial Equality
Hayward Gallery and University of California Press, Rhapsodies in Black: Art of the Harlem Renaissance
Willie E. Gary, "Making the Case for Racial Reparations: Does America owe a debt to the descendants of its slaves," Harper's Magazine, November 2000, 37-51.
Henry Louis Gates and Nellie Y. McKay, The Norton Anthology of African American Literature


The Middle Passage
The Last Supper
Sugar Cane Alley
How Tasty was my Little Frenchman
Black Orpheus

Some web sites of interest

Book reviews from the Gilder Lehrman Center at Yale University on Slavery, Resistance and Abolition at:

Chronology of US slavery

African Presence in the Americas 1492-1992 from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City

Timothy Charoenying, "Jazz at the Crossroads," The Atlantic, 26 Feb. 2003

A concise overview of Africans in the Caribbean and Latin America

The links below are provided from the cd rom produced by McGraw-Hill Company entitled "Who Freed the Slaves"


American Civil War Home Page (University of Tennessee at Knoxville)
This extensive site links to hundreds of resources, including timelines, images, letters, accounts and diaries, bibliographies, state studies, specific battles, and rosters.

American Memory (Library of Congress)
The American Memory project has a tremendous collection of primary sources on the Civil War period with a particular emphasis on the African American experience.

Freedmen and Southern Society Chronology of Emancipation (Freedmen and Southern Society Project, University of Maryland)
This site contains a detailed chronology of major events in the history of Emancipation with linked keywords and events.


The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: A Visual Record (University of Virginia)
This site holds multiple digital images depicting slave life and culture before, during, and after emancipation.

Tangled Roots (Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University)
The "Tangled Roots" project brings together speeches, legal documents, letters, interviews, cartoons, articles, and document-based classroom projects related to the intertwining history of American slaves and immigrants from Ireland.


The African-American: A Journey from Slavery to Freedom (C.W. Post University)
Although this site is basic in content, it does provide detailed information concerning key figures in the process of emancipation. This site also provides a valuable bibliography for each of its topics and persons of interest.

African American Odyssey (Library of Congress)
This online Library of Congress exhibition showcases books, government documents, manuscripts, maps, musical scores, plays, films, and recordings on the history of African Americans and their quest for equality.

African-American Slave Resistance in America (AFRO-Americ@, Carolyn L. Bennett, Ph.D.)
This site chronicles slave resistance in American history, examining specific instances of resistance, the role of women in resistance, and a chronology of slave insurrections and uprisings.

Africans in America (PBS)
PBS's "Africans in America" site accompanies the eponymous series, with historical essays, biographies, interviews, documents, and teachers' guides. Under the subcategory, Civil War (, a further detailing of the Harpers Ferry raid, military conscription, and racist attitudes faced by African Americans who wished to fight in the Civil War is provided.

Dred Scott Case (Washington University Libraries)
A rich exhibit on the Dred Scott case with scans of all primary documents involved as well as a thorough chronology of the case itself.

The Face of Slavery and Other Early Images of African Americans (American Museum of Photography)
This site includes only ten photographs of African Americans from 1855 to 1905 but the bulk of them are portraits, unusual for their time.

Freedmen's Bureau On-Line (The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands)
A private, genealogically-oriented site with a large array of primary documents relating to the activities of the Freedmen's Bureau.

Photographs of African-Americans During the Civil War (Library of Congress)
This site lists Library of Congress photograph holdings of African Americans during the Civil War. Less than half of the listings have actual images online, but they do provide an important glimpse of captured everyday moments.

The Roanoke Island Freedmen's Colony (University of Virginia)
This site presents the history of a Civil War refuge for escaped slaves, through maps, letters, and project ideas for high school and college students.

Slave Voices (Duke University)
This site contains several documents based on slave narratives recorded by the Federal Writer's Project in the 1930s.

Valley of the Shadow (University of Virginia)
The premier archive of the Civil War period, this path-breaking site focuses on two counties (one slave, one free) and provides a nearly exhaustive documentary and statistical picture of the two communities before and during the Civil War.


Freedom's Journal (State Historical Society of Wisconsin)
Digitized copies of all 103 issues of the Freedom's Journal, the first African American owned and operated newspaper published in the United States from 1827 to 1929.

Nineteenth-Century Documents Project (Furman University, SC)
This site contains a range of nineteenth century documents, such as newspaper editorials, abolitionist tracts, political speeches, legislative resolutions, and statistical data. Issues addressed by these sources include slavery and sectionalism, the Kansas-Nebraska Bill of 1854, the Dred Scott Case, the election of 1860, the secession of the southern states, and the impact of the Civil War on the South.

Uncle Tom's Cabin and American Culture (Institute for Advanced Technologies in the Humanities at the University of Virginia)
This website features materials relating to Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, such as the first published edition, audio files of the hymns presented in the book, anti-slavery and Christian abolitionist texts, materials on nineteenth century Sentimental Culture, newspaper reviews, articles and notices, African American and pro-slavery responses to the novel, adaptations, and an interactive timeline.

Underground Railroad (National Geographic)
This site provides an interactive journey along the fabled Underground Railroad that ushered some runaway slaves to freedom.


Beyond Face Value (United States Civil War Center at Louisiana State University)
"Beyond Face Value" explores the portrayal of slavery in Confederate currency, with over 100 digital images of Confederate notes.

Confederate Broadside Poetry Collection (Wake Forest University Library)
The collection features poems, pamphlets, and broadsides written by southerners and Confederate sympathizers during the Civil War.

Documenting the American South (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
A collection of over 1,000 manuscripts including slave narratives and southern literature from the Civil War years. The Southern Homefront, 1861-1865 ( extends beyond the bounds of the basic site by examining the transformation of the homefront in the American South during the era of the Civil War. There are numerous sources and documents on site that cover topics ranging from science and medicine to home life.


Hearts At Home: Southern Women and the Civil War (University of Virginia)
This site allows access to an assortment of primary sources that detail the role of southern women in the Civil War. Many interesting topics, such as women and spying and women in the labor force, make this site an important resource for women's history.

Women and the Civil War (Duke University)
This site contains a few interesting diaries and letters written by women who lived during the Civil War. Also, it includes a highly useful links page with several informative sites concerned with women and the Civil War.


Abraham Lincoln Papers (Library of Congress)
This is the official collection of Lincoln Papers with 61,000 images and 10,000 transcriptions of the nearly 20,000 items in the physical collection.

American Civil War Research Database (Historical Data Systems, Inc.)
A fee-based service allowing searches of the two-million-person database of Confederate and Union Soldiers. Subscriptions are $25 or less.

Civil War Parks (National Parks Service)
The site contains a brief essay and a collection of links to numerous National Park Civil War battlefields and museums.

Emancipation Proclamation (National Archives)
A special exhibit showing multiple drafts of the Emancipation Proclamation and an audio clip of a former slave discussing life post-emancipation.

Eye of the Storm (Simon & Schuster)
This site features Union soldier Private Knox Sneden's watercolors, maps, and journal entries from 1861-1864. There are also links to photographs of Civil War battlefields and a Matthew Brady exhibit.

Historical New York Times Project (Universal Library at Carnegie Mellon University)
The Historical New York Times Project displays New York Times articles on Civil War topics from 1860 to 1866. The hi-tech imagery allows visitors to browse through old newspapers online. (Northern Illinois University)
The premier collection of Lincoln materials outside of the Library of Congress, this site includes presidential papers, songs, texts, and interactive maps.

The Time of Lincolns (PBS)
A PBS documentary site which provides a virtual slave cabin, information on women in the war, and the experiences of the average footsoldier.

U.S. Civil War Center (Louisiana State)
A searchable collection of links and documents on the Civil War as well as a thorough cemetary database.

Virtual Visit: The Emancipation Proclamation (New York State Library)
An excellent display and analysis of the various drafts of the proclamation, including rare nineteenth century photographs of the final hand written draft of the proclamation.

Civil War Cartoons (University of Virginia)
With hundreds of illustrations, this site focuses on the impact of political cartoons on Civil War history.


Private Passions, Public Legacy (University of Virginia Library)
Culled from the estate of Paul Mellon, a prominent philanthropist, this collection includes a Civil War section with pictures of artifacts such as playing cards, broadsides, lithographs, and a moving Myriopticon (a toy that presents Civil War scenes).

Radio Diaries: People Documenting Their Lives on National Public Radio (Radio Diaries, Inc.)
The site includes audio files and transcripts of interviews with the last two known remaining Civil War widows whose husbands fought on opposing sides of the war.