Join us this Wednesday for the next event in our ReMapping New England series, an ongoing collaboration between Atlantic Black Box and Indigo Arts Alliance that aims to re-member our communities in all their diversity and radically shift public consciousness toward truth.
Featuring scholarly advisor to the Atlantic Black Box project
Dr. Christy Clark-Pujara
Wednesday, May 26th at 5:00 pm
The Business of slavery—specifically the buying and selling of people, food, and goods—shaped the experience of slavery, the process of emancipation, and the realities of Black freedom in Rhode Island from the colonial period through the American Civil War. In the colonial period, Rhode Islanders dominated the American trade in African slaves, and provided the slave-labor-dependent West Indies with necessities. In the post-colonial period, as slavery was legally dismantled, Rhode Islanders became the leading producers of slave clothing. Black people resisted their bondage, fought for their freedom, and strove to build a community in a racially hostile state and nation. The institution of race-based slavery was central to the economic, political, and social development of New England. The erasure of this history has allowed for a dangerous myth—that the North has no history of racism to overcome and that white northerners had no substantive investments in race-based slavery.
Dr. Christy Clark-Pujara is Associate Professor of History in the Department Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on the experiences of black people in French and British North America in the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries, particularly in small towns and cities in the North and Midwest. She is author of Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island (2016) and is currently working on a second titled From Slavery to Suffrage: Black on the Wisconsin Frontier.
Indigo Arts Alliance connects Black and Brown artists from around the world with Maine’s artists of African descent through a multidisciplinary artist-in-residency program that embodies a Black-led approach to creativity, community-building, and mentoring.
Atlantic Black Box is a public history project that supports individuals and institutions in researching and reckoning with New England’s role in the Atlantic world slave economy.