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Comparto este interesante artículo del historiador Chad Pearson analizando al Ku Klux Klan como una asociación de patrones  (empresarios) que usaba la violencia y el terror para garantizar el control de la mano de obra negra en el Sur. El Dr. Pearson es  profesor de historia en el Collin College. Es autor de Reform or Repression: Organizing America’s Anti-Union Movement (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016) y coeditor con Rosemary Feurer de Against Labor: How U.S. Employers Organized to Defeat Union Activism (University of Illinois Press, 2017). Su actual proyecto, titulado Capital’s Terrorists: Klansmen, Lawmen, and Employers in the Long Nineteenth Century será publicado por la University of North Carolina Press.


Ku Klux Klan | Definition & History | Britannica

El Ku Klux Klan también fue una asociación de jefes

CHAD PEARSON

Jacobin  27 de julio de 2021

La Guerra Civil revolucionó las relaciones laborales sureñas. Las personas esclavizadas huyeron de las plantaciones, tomaron las armas contra sus brutales explotadores y forjaron nuevos horizontes políticos. El futuro parecía prometedor.

Para los propietarios de plantaciones, sin embargo, esta transformación fue una pesadillla:  los trabajadores que tenían en servidumbre habían librado una “huelga general”, como W.E.B. Du Bois la llamó más tarde, dejándolos financieramente vulnerables e intensamente sacudidos. Este grupo racista y revanchista no se limitó a llorar sus derrotas, sino que se organizaron.

A través de los años de la Reconstrucción, la clase dominante sureña se resistió ferozmente a la eflorescencia de la libertad negra. Los restrictivos códigos negros, las políticas pro-plantadores del presidente Andrew Johnson, los disturbios racistas en Memphis y Nueva Orleans y, sobre todo, el terrorismo generalizado del Ku Klux Klan demostraron brutalmente los límites de la emancipación. Liderado por antiguos dueños de esclavos, el Klan reunía varias formas de violencia para impedir que los afroamericanos votaran o asistieran a las escuelas, intimidar a los carpetbaggers del norte y garantizar, según un documento sin fecha del Klan, que las personas liberadas continúen con su trabajo correspondiente”.

kkkmembershipcard

Membership card of A.F. Handcock in the Invisible Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (1928)

Los capítulos del Klan, repartidos de manera desigual en muchas partes del Sur, prometieron abordar los problemas laborales más apremiantes de los plantadores. Después de enterarse de la existencia de esta organización, Nathan Bedford Forrest — el ex comerciante de esclavos, principal carnicero en la batalla de 1864 en Fort Pillow, y el primer Gran Mago de la organización — expresó su aprobación de su secretividad, actividades y objetivos: “Eso es algo bueno; eso es muy bueno. Podemos usarla para mantener a los negros en su lugar”.

Mantenerlos  en su lugar no fue una tarea fácil: los afroamericanos abandonaron ansiosamente las granjas y plantaciones, lo que causó una escasez generalizada de mano de obra. Alfred Richardson, un afroamericano de Georgia, observó que los plantadores seguían profundamente frustrados porque no podían cultivar sus productos. Pero el KKK demostró ser una de las mejores herramientas de los empleadores del Sur para imponer violentamente su voluntad.

Los problemas laborales de los plantadores

Durante décadas, los historiadores han debatido la mejor manera de caracterizar al KKK, una organización terrorista supremacista blanca lanzada por veteranos confederados que surgió por primera vez en Pulaski, Tennessee, en 1866 antes de extenderse por todo el sur. Cientos de miles se unieron a ésta, aunque obtener un recuento detallado de los miembros reales es prácticamente imposible debido al secretismo de la organización.

Sin embargo, muchas cosas no están en discusión: los miembros del Klan estaban estrechamente vinculados al Partido Demócrata y usaban la violencia —azotes, ahorcamientos, ahogamientos, violencia sexual, expulsiones— contra afroamericanos y republicanos “insubordinados” de todas las razas. Los miembros del Klan también utilizaron formas “más suaves” de represión, incluyendo la quema de escuelas y libros y la creación en listas negras de maestros procedentes del Norte. También buscaron evitar que los afroamericanos se educaran. Según Z. B. Hargrove de Georgia, los miembros del Klan ocasionalmente azotaban a personas liberadas “por ser demasiado inteligentes”.

Imagen 1

Nathan Bedford Forrest. (Wikimedia Commons)

El racismo unió a los miembros blancos del Klan independientemente de las diferencias de clase, pero no todos jugaron un papel igual en la organización. El liderazgo del Klan consistía principalmente en propietarios de plantaciones, abogados, editores de periódicos y propietarios de tiendas con movilidad descendente, los más perjudicados por la transformación radical de la economía y las relaciones laborales del Sur.

Estos hombres estaban enfurecidos por su posición económica en declive y la ascensión de los hombres negros a posiciones de poder político. El líder del Klan con sede en Carolina del Norte, Randolph Abbott Shotwell, se quejó de que los hombres negros recién empoderados habían ayudado al gobierno federal a derribar “los derechos del amo” y privar de derechos a “una gran proporción de los hombres más capaces y mejores en la raza naturalmente dominante”.

Las miembros resentidos de la élite como Shotwell y Forres estaban decididos a restablecer su poder. Abundante evidencia sugiere que el Klan de la era de la Reconstrucción funcionó como una asociación de patronos con objetivos que, de alguna manera, se asemejaban a los objetivos de otras organizaciones empresariales anti-laborales.

Los líderes del Klan exigieron que las masas negras realizaran una función: participar en formas de trabajo agotadoras y brutalmente intensas que se asemejaban a la vida de las plantaciones anteriores a la Guerra Civil. Los miembros del Klan trataron de evitar que los afroamericanos abandonaran los lugares de trabajo, participaran en reuniones políticas, buscaran educación, accedieran a armas de fuego o se unieran a organizaciones destinadas a desafiar a sus explotadores. Como un observador de Georgia le dijo a un comité de investigación del Congreso en 1871, “Creo que su propósito es controlar el gobierno del estado y controlar el trabajo negro, lo mismo que lo hicieron bajo la esclavitud”.

Cotton Field - Landscape

Campo algodonero

Mientras que los miembros del Klan insistieron en que las masas negras pasaran sus horas de vigilia plantando y recogiendo cultivos, muchos se negaron a creer que estos mismos trabajadores merecían paga por sus esfuerzos. Según un informe de 1871 de Tennessee, con frecuencia “el empleador enmarca alguna excusa y reñía con el trabajador, quien se veía obligado a dejar su cosecha y su salario por el terror al Klan, que, en todos los casos, simpatizaba con los empleadores blancos”. Estos casos eran más parecidos a la esclavitud que al sistema de trabajo libre prometido por la emancipación.

El Klan como asociación de patronos

Pocos estudiosos han etiquetado al Klan como una asociación de empleadores, y la mayoría de los historiadores de la gestión han ignorado la Reconstrucción del Sur. El importante libro de Clarence Bonnett de 1922, Employers’ Associations in the United States: A Study of Typical Associations, es mudo sobre el Klan, centrándose exclusivamente en las organizaciones dirigidas por empresas que se formaron a finales del siglo XIX en el norte para contrarrestar el movimiento laboral cada vez más agitado.

Sin embargo, la definición de Bonnett es flexible, permitiéndonos aplicarla a las acciones de las organizaciones de vigilantes de la Reconstrucción: “Una asociación de patronos es un grupo que está compuesto o fomentado por los empleadores y que busca promover el interés de estos en los asuntos laborales. El grupo, en consecuencia, es (1) una organización formal o informal de empleadores, o (2) una colección de individuos cuya agrupación es fomentada por los empleadores”.

Imagen 2

Libertos votando, New Orleans, 1867.    (Wikimedia Commons)

Por supuesto, las asociaciones de empleadores del Klan de la era de la Reconstrucción y de la Era Progresista enmarcaron sus respectivos problemas laborales de manera muy diferente. Mientras que los miembros de las alianzas de empleadores y ciudadanos del norte promocionaban la libertad de la que supuestamente disfrutaban los trabajadores industriales (a saber, no afiliarse a sindicatos), los miembros del Klan no tenían ningún interés en tratar de ganar legitimidad de las masas afroamericanas.

Esto no quiere decir que las asociaciones de empleadores con sede en el Norte aceptaran estallidos de disturbios laborales. Ellos también utilizaron técnicas coercitivas, como guardias privados y secuestros, palizas y ahorcamientos, y se beneficiaron de las rápidas intervenciones de la policía y los guardias nacionales. Pero retóricamente, las asociaciones de empleadores de la Era Progresista a menudo empleaban el lenguaje Lincolnesque  de “trabajo libre”, señalando a las masas de trabajadores “libres” que lo mejor para ellos era trabajar diligentemente y cooperar con sus jefes. Aquellos que optaron por caminos más belicosos a menudo eran despedidos y colocados en una lista negra -reprimidos, sí, pero muy diferente de lo que experimentaron los libertos.

Los miembros del Klan hablaban el lenguaje sin adornos del dominio racial y de clase, y lo siguieron adelante con extrema brutalidad. Si medimos el número de asesinatos y palizas, el Klan fue mucho más violento que la mayoría de las asociaciones de empleadores con sede en el Norte. El historiador Stephen Budiansky ha calculado  que los vigilantes blancos asesinaron a más de tres mil personas durante el período de Reconstrucción.

Ku Klux Klan: Origin, Members & Facts - HISTORY

Sin embargo, los miembros del Klan eran estratégicos, empleando amenazas, secuestros y azotes para lograr los objetivos principales de las clases dominantes del Sur. Esto significaba mantener a la gente liberada alejada de las urnas electorales, romper reuniones políticas y asesinar a los hombres y mujeres más irremediablemente rebeldes. “Los asaltantes blancos”, ha señalado el historiador Douglas Egerton, “no simplemente atacaron a los negros por ser negros”. En cambio, usaron la intimidación y la violencia contra lo que consideraban hombres y mujeres vagos, poco confiables, irrespetuosos y desafiantes.

Las acciones espantosas como azotes y ahorcamientos sirvieron a las necesidades de la gerencia, ayudando a disciplinar a un número incontable de trabajadores. El cultivador de algodón de Mississippi Robert Philip Howell, por ejemplo, expresó su agradecimiento al Klan porque, en 1868, sus miembros ayudaron a resolver sus problemas con los “negros libres”: “si no hubiera sido por su miedo mortal al Ku-Klux, no creo que pudiéramos haberlos manejado tan bien como lo hicimos”.

Sharecroppers in Georgia · Textbook

Aparceros negros en Georgia

Tampoco el hecho de que los blancos pobres y de clase trabajadora participaran en los capítulos del Klan significa que no deberíamos considerar al KKK como una organización de jefes: lograr el control laboral casi siempre ha implicado coordinar grupos de participantes entre clases. Después de todo, las asociaciones de empleadores, en su mayoría con sede en el norte, no podrían haber logrado romper las huelgas y acabar con los sindicatos sin las movilizaciones de rompe huelgas durante los conflictos laborales.

El Klan, entonces, era una asociación de empleadores particularmente despiadada, particularmente racista,  pero era igual era una asociación de empleadores. Y fue brutalmente efectiva.

El miedo cubrió a la clase obrera negra, en su mayoría agrícola. Aunque los negros en todo el Sur ya no eran “propiedad”, la amenaza de la violencia organizada por el Klan se cernía sobre ellos. Demasiados pasos en falso, incluidas formas sutiles y frecuentes de insubordinación, podrían conducir a encuentros no deseados con hombres encapuchados seguidos de amenazas, palizas e incluso la muerte. Los miembros del Klan eran los despiadados ejecutores de la administración, asegurando que las masas mantuvieran la cabeza baja y trabajaran eficientemente.

Algunas personas liberadas se unieron a organizaciones de resistencia como las Ligas de la Unión. Estas organizaciones aliadas de los republicanos estaban activas en estados como Alabama, donde los miembros celebraban reuniones, movilizaban a los votantes y, a menudo, actividades muy alejadas de sus deberes “apropiados” en el lugar de trabajo.

Pero en respuesta, los miembros del Klan conspiraron entre sí antes de allanar las casas de los miembros de la Liga, azotar a los residentes, arrebatar sus armas y exigir que se mantuvieran alejados de las urnas electorales. Perdonaban vidas sólo cuando sus víctimas prometían abandonar las ligas. Sólo en Alabama, los miembros del Klan asesinaron a  unos quince miembros de la Liga entre 1868 y 1871.

Contrarrevolución de la propiedad”

Asegurar que los afroamericanos permanecieran atados (a veces literalmente) a granjas, plantaciones y otros lugares de trabajo mientras recibían poca compensación era uno de los objetivos centrales de las élites del Sur, las mismas personas que se beneficiaron de la esclavitud antes de la Guerra Civil. Mientras que los blancos de todas las clases se unieron a las ramas del Klan — y participaron con entusiasmo en ataques contra maestros del Norte, administradores del Freedmen Bureau y miembros de la Liga sindical — las élites llevaban la voz cantante.

Esta fue una “Contrarrevolución de la Propiedad”, como dijo  W. E.B. Du Bois. Los reformadores de la era de la Reconstrucción no proporcionaron una libertad genuina a los antiguos esclavos, escribió, en parte “porque la dictadura militar detrás del trabajo no funcionó con éxito frente al Ku Klux Klan”. Al igual que las asociaciones de empleadores con sede en el Norte, el KKK luchó por los intereses de los miembros más poderosos de la sociedad, repartiendo violencia y terror en nombre de los empleadores agrícolas.

Sharecropping and the Great Migration North - ​​Uncle Jessie White

Deberíamos apreciar los enormes avances emancipadores de la Guerra Civil sin perder de vista las formas en que la clase dominante sureña luchó para aferrarse al poder. Lo hicieron en parte desempeñando roles de liderazgo en el Klan y apoyando activamente a las numerosas organizaciones de vigilantes racistas que exigían la subordinación laboral.

Al destacar sus intereses de clase fundamentales, podemos entender mejor las razones de sus actos estratégicos de terror. Estos hombres perdieron quizás el conflicto más significativo para la democracia en la historia de Estados Unidos, pero no dejaron de luchar contra las fuerzas de liberación.

Traducción de Norberto Barreto Velázquez

 

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La Dra. Karin Wulf, directora del Omohundro Institute en el William & Mary College, pidió a un grupo de especialistas de la historia temprana de Estados Unidos que comentarán cómo  estaban experimentando el periodo de crisis pandémica y política, y cuál consideraban era la relevancia de su trabajo   y publicaciones.  El resultado es un grupo de interesantes reflexiones que comparto con mis lectores. Estas vienen acompañadas con  imágenes de las publicaciones más recientes de los investigadores consultados.


History typed on an vintage typewriter, old paper. close-upHistorians in Historic Times

KARIN WULF

The Scholarly Kitchen   January 14, 2021

A historian will tell you that every era, every group of people, every subject, and every last fragment of material about the past is historical. We are always living through history. We always benefit from rigorous historical research and scholarship.  And while history has conventionally been written from a privileged position, and about politics, wars, and economies, most of us work from more complex situations and on a more complex combination of phenomena that could any moment be reflected in the present. Historians of medicine, for example, have been working overtime explaining how socio-economic inequalities mapped onto historical pandemics and parallel what we see with COVID19. Historians of authoritarianism and white supremacy have been working overtime to show us how these movements have proliferated and been sustained over decades — even centuries. Historians of race, and particularly of slavery and Jim Crow in the United States, have been pointing to the iterative quality of politics and policy that have led to dynamics we saw play out last summer in episodes of police violence and protest. Last week’s riot and insurrection at the U.S. Capitol seems a particularly stark moment that will likely be pointed to for generations to come, either as a culmination or an origin or both.

I asked historians of the early Americas and United States who have published books in this year of pandemic and political crisis how they are feeling about living through this moment of pandemic and political crisis, and how the subject of their scholarship and/or the practice of history feels relevant and resonant. It’s a remarkable set of reflections, and I’m grateful to these scholars for taking the time and energy — when there is so little of either to spare — to contribute.

VSurviving Southampton: African American Women and Resistance in Nat  Turner's Community (Women, Gender, and Sexuality in American History):  Holden, Vanessa M.: 9780252085857: Amazon.com: Booksanessa M. Holden, University of Kentucky, author of Surviving Southampton:  African American Women and Resistance in Nat Turner’s Community (2021)

Like many Americans, I woke up on the morning of Wednesday, January 6th, to the news that Georgia would have at least one (likely two) Democrats as U.S. Senators as the result of runoff elections held on Tuesday the 5th. A coalition of activists and organizers had triumphed after years of hard-fought efforts to get out the vote, register new voters, and combat voter suppression. Black women and femmes knew Georgia could be blue and, after years of hard work, had realized their vision. In a state where most Americans unfamiliar with Black women’s history saw only solid red, they’d made a way out of possibility. That same afternoon I spoke with a colleague via Zoom. She was hopeful. I was cautious. “Violence,” I said, “I’m worried about the violent backlash. It has already started. It is going to get worse.” In the few seconds of silence that passed between us across computer screens my phone buzzed. My brother was texting to tell me that Vice President Pence was being removed from the senate chamber. On Twitter, raw footage of a Black Capitol police officer swatting at a white mob with a nightstick lit up my timeline. What had happened to him after he’d exited the camera frame?

Like many Black Americans I watched the day unfold while thinking of Black residents of Washington, D.C., the people of color who work as custodians, food service workers, and staff at the Capitol building, and the sharp contrast in law enforcement’s non-response to the invasion of the Capitol by white insurrectionists in comparison to militarized violent police responses across the country to peaceful protest by BIPOC and our allies. At the end of the day, photos of security standing near custodial staff (all apparently people of color) as they swept up broken glass began to circulate. Later we learned that insurrectionists smeared human excrement throughout the building.

How much had custodial staff been exposed to the deadly virus that day?

Like many historians I thought about my work. For me, completing and publishing a book about America’s most famous rebellion against slavery and enslavers, took on additional immediacy. The women, children, and men who I write about in Surviving Southampton: African American Women and Resistance in Nat Turner’s Community, found ways to preserve their community amidst overwhelming white violence in 1831. This year the Covid-19 pandemic brought into sharp focus systemic racial inequalities that Black historians have innovated entire historical fields to explore, document, and combat. Black death, from Covid-19 and police violence, has been ever present in our kinship networks, communities, neighborhoods, and on our newsfeeds. Survival requires labor: the day-to-day work, choices, and determination to endure. But, as I write in my book, the word survivor has more than one meaning. It is our word both for those who endure and for those who are bereaved. In Georgia, Black women and femmes did exhausting survival work to flip the Senate — work that will endure. In Kentucky, where I live, Black Lives Matter activists are raising funds to stave off the eviction crisis for vulnerable Black women and femmes even as armed militias plague the state capitol in Frankfort. When the camera moves on, what work of survival will we take up? What ways will we endure bereavement? And what of our work will endure?

Unworthy Republic : The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian  Territory (Hardcover) - Walmart.com - Walmart.comClaudio Saunt, University of Georgia, author of Unworthy Republic:  The Disposssession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory(2020)

“Unworthy Republic,” the title of my recent book on the expulsion of Native Americans from the eastern half of the United States in the 1830s, comes from a letter written by James Folsom, a Choctaw student studying at Miami University of Ohio in 1831. The United States had mistreated the Cherokee Nation, he wrote, and the American Republic would “go down to future eyes with scorn and reproach on her head.” As I was writing Unworthy Republic, the politics in the United States were changing around me, and the book’s subject — white supremacy, political cowardice, and economic opportunism — became more tightly relevant. That served as a motivating force, and I think made the work more present and urgent. In the 1830s, white supremacists threatened to take up arms to defend a grotesque vision of their rights, politicians pretended to take principled stands that were transparently self-serving, and profit-seekers disregarded everything but the dollars they coveted.  Folsom asserted that the United States would feel the legacy of injustice “in her legislative halls,” a prediction that came true on January 6. That injustice, he wrote, “never will be eradicated from her history.” I would like to think that if we had faced that history more fully, we would not have seen rioters in the U.S. Capitol building proudly bearing the Confederate flag and other symbols of white supremacy.

THE BOSTON MASSACRE: A Family History - HamiltonBook.com

Serena Zabin, Carleton College, author of The Boston Massacre: A Family History (2020)

On the night of March 5, 1770, armed agents of the state – British soldiers – shot into a crowd gathered in the street before the seat of imperial power in Boston. When the smoke cleared, five men lay dead or dying in the snow. This year, I published The Boston Massacre: A Family History for the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of an event that is often characterized as the first bloodshed of the American Revolution. By March 5, 2020, the world was already swept up in the first wave of COVID-19, and the murders of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, and others were soon to come. I had not written my book to speak to the contemporary issue of police brutality or to address what happens when the military and the police collapse their functions into each other. Nor had I intended to weigh in on violence done in the name of liberty. The heart of my book is about the personal relationships between neighbors, and even within families, that were splintered in the political and social upheavals of the American Revolution.  And yet, this family history of the eighteenth century clearly does have something to say about the events of the past nine months, something that is no less useful for being unintentional. As I began researching this event more than ten years ago, I had to trust that readers in the present would find it relevant. I just had no idea how right I would be.

City of Refuge: Slavery and Petit Marronage in the Great Dismal Swamp,  1763–1856 (Race in the Atlantic World, 1700–1900 Ser.): Nevius, Marcus P.:  9780820356426: Amazon.com: BooksMarcus Nevius, University of Rhode Island, author of City of Refuge: Slavery and Petit Marronage in the Great Dismal Swamp, 1763-1856 (2020)

On January 6, 2021, I observed the flood of white supremacist terrorists who “stormed” the U.S. Capitol building. On Twitter, I reacted in real time. About an hour before “breaching” the Capitol ground’s outer perimeter (mere yards from the west and east entrances to the building), the mob attended a rally, led by an incumbent lame duck president, near the White House. That president amplified yet again the baseless claims that the presidential election of 2020 had been “stolen” from him and his supporters. Injuring tens of U.S. Capitol police officers and other law enforcement officials, the mob feloniously broke into the Capitol building. While inside, they paraded about, carrying Confederate flags, chanting “Stop the Steal,” and targeting U.S. legislators who scurried to evacuate as the mob broke into their offices. One woman lost her life; at least one police officer paid the ultimate sacrifice in the duty to protect the Capitol; several in the mob lost their lives. The mobs’ actions took shape on national television, as awed newscasters on stations of all stripes nationally and internationally broadcast live the mob’s figurative and literal desecration of the nation as we know it.

This mob, however, did not storm the Capitol. It did not breach the building. To say either is to imbue the mob’s actions with the connotations of protest, of a war for a valiant cause. To do that is to validate the very rhetoric that animated the mob, instigated by a lame duck president, that believed it was disrupting an “illegal” (re: totally legitimate) process of confirming the votes that the independent states submitted to Congress by way of the Electoral College. The mob’s felonious entry into the Capitol was not valiant. If anything, it was, at base, a COVID-19 superspreader event.

A few days’ reflection have reminded me that my visceral reaction on January 6th, that “it should NEVER have come to this…” was wrong. As an historian of slavery, slave based economies, and black resistance in early America, I know all too well the examples that are not known widely enough — the 3/5ths Compromise; the Federal Fugitive Slave Law of 1793; the Missouri Compromise; the several bills comprising the Compromise of 1850; the Dred Scott decision of 1857 — the list goes on. Political compromises from 1787 to 1850 did not save the nation from Civil War; postbellum political compromises did even less to quell the nation’s sordid racial history. The truth, as scholars of many stripes know all too well, is that what we observed on January 6th was our nation’s deep seeded politics of hatred, borne of the nation’s original sin — slavery. The mob’s actions were a demonstration of this very truth. And a poignant warning that, as yet, we have much with which to reckon.

Past and Prologue : Politics and Memory in the American Revolution  (Hardcover) - Walmart.com - Walmart.comMichael D. Hattem, Yale University, author of Past and Prologue: Politics and Memory in the American Revolution (2020)

Part of the reason the power of history and historical narratives are so deeply embedded in our national political culture is because it was such an important part of the founding of the nation. We are the inheritors of that tradition, for better and worse. In just the last year, I have watched contemporary events and debates — such as The 1619 Project, the removal of Confederate monuments, the White House Conference on American History, and the 1776 Commission, to name just a few — and have been able to understand them as not just expressions of our contemporary politics but as part of our nation’s long-standing relationship between politics and history. That context that my work has offered has been important because it has not only made me more attuned to when politicians and political parties of both sides use representations of the past to manipulate their audience by drawing on their emotions and previously held beliefs, but has also made it possible for me to then ask important questions such as: who is the intended audience for specific depictions of American history, for what purposes are those depictions being used, and why do those depicting it expect it to resonate with their specific audience? Therefore, I think my work as a historian of memory and politics has made me a more critical “consumer” of history as used in the public square and I would like to think my book would do the same for its readers.
Slavery in the Age of Memory: Engaging the Past: Araujo, Ana Lucia:  9781350048485: Amazon.com: BooksAna Lucia Araujo, Howard University, author of Slavery in the Age of Memory: Engaging the Past (2020)

I have been studying the history and the legacies of slavery in the Atlantic World for nearly twenty years, and we know that the growing interest about the slavery past is closely associated with the persistence of racial inequalities, racism, and white supremacy. But all this could be perceived as an abstract idea. Of course, we have seen black social actors and their academic allies decrying the absence of public markers memorializing this past for several decades, but in the summer 2020 it was the first time that anti-racist public demonstrations (reacting to the assassination of George Floyd) reenacted these debates in tangible ways, not only in the United States, but also in Britain, France, Belgium, Portugal, and many other countries. Living through this time is a strange experience. As these monuments became the target of demonstrators denouncing anti-black racism, it is much more evident on how these devices embody the values of white supremacy. Suddenly, the topics that I discussed in a book to be released in October 2020, were popping up on my computer screen as current events in the summer 2020. The attack by white nationalists, white supremacists and nazis on the US Capitol of January 6, 2021 is also an expression of this context. It’s the culmination of a long history of slavery and racial violence that started centuries ago, but that reemerged in recent years through the actions of white terrorists such as Dylan Roof in Charleston and the mob to defend the statue of Robert E. Lee that happened in Charlottesville in 2017. The speed of the events and the fact that we are physically and emotionally tired make the task of the historian harder. But it offers me a great opportunity to see this history of the present, on which I worked for several years, unfolding before my eyes. At the same time, as someone researching the memory of slavery, I know that working on topics close to the present poses many challenges. And in the present context, it’s very hard to see these events from a broad enough perspective. Still, scholarship and the search for truth, no matter how challenging, are the best path forward.

Remembering the Enslaved Who Sued for Freedom Before the Civil War - The  New York TimesWilliam G. Thomas III, University of Nebraska and author, A Question of Freedom:  The Families Who Challenged Slavery from the Nation’s Founding to the Civil War (2020)

When I was researching and writing A Question of Freedom, a reckoning with the history of slavery and racism in the United States was already underway. I saw the book was one means to repair American history and confront the terrible menace of white supremacy unfolding at the time — the murder of Black church members at Emmanuel African Episcopal in 2015, the police shootings of unarmed Black men and women, and the violence of Charlottesville in 2017. I set out to write A Question of Freedom because I wanted to understand how slavery had gained sanction under the law and in the Constitution despite its obvious incompatibility with the founding principles of equality and natural rights. Slavery was a moral problem. And Revolutionary Americans knew it. What I did not realize at first was that slavery was always a dubious institution in the law. It had been fought and contested in the law from the nation’s founding and before. One of the main points I try to make is that particular families experienced slavery. Many Americans see slavery as an abstract institution, faceless and nameless. In most textbooks Black families are almost never mentioned by name. But there was nothing abstract about slavery. And Black families, like the Queens and the Mahoneys, who sued slaveholders for their freedom were at the center of the nation’s founding in a way most Americans have not acknowledged. Their freedom suits amounted to a concerted effort to bring the problem of slavery before the nation. Once I met with the descendants of these families, I wanted to tell the story in a way that made it clear that this history is still with us today, that this is palpably felt history. It affects real people, real families. In A Question of Freedom I wanted readers to experience what I was experiencing: the vibrant immediacy of the past, the heightened awareness that events 240 years ago have profound, indeed personal, consequences in our world today.

The Lost Tradition of Economic Equality in America, 1600–1870: Mandell,  Daniel R.: 9781421437118: Amazon.com: BooksDaniel Mandell, Truman State University, author of The Lost Tradition of Economic Equality in America, 1600-1870 (2020)

Quite clearly the subject of my book, American concerns about economic inequality, has been woven throughout this year’s crises in the U.S. This was particularly true of the pandemic, during which the stock market and the numbers of homeless and hungry have both skyrocketed; with the political wars, as one party pushed for massive federal assistance and the other insisted that low-wage workers should essentially be forced back to work regardless of the danger; and (perhaps a little less obviously so) with efforts to confront the racial inequalities imbedded in so many of our country’s concerns. But I was disappointed that the many speeches and extensive commentary on these issues never acknowledged that this country had a long tradition, going back to before its founding, that the health of our republic required avoiding extremes of great wealth or terrible poverty. In fact, I started on that book a decade ago because that history was never mentioned even as the widening wealth gap became a chasm with the Crash of 2007-2008. Alas my hope that the book would help revive that tradition seems, like so many other (and more significant) hopes and dreams, to be steamrollered by the crises of this moment. 

Hearing Enslaved Voices: African and Indian Slave Testimony in BritishSophie White, University of Notre Dame and author, Voices of the Enslaved: Love, Labor, and Longing in French Louisiana (2019); co-editor, Hearing Enslaved Voices: African and Indian Slave Testimony in British and French America, 1700–1848 (2020)

As an historian of race and slavery, I am constantly struck by lasting legacies, not least in the perpetuation of formal and informal rules aimed at continued disenfranchisement. I am just as struck by the recurring attempts to repudiate this disenfranchisement, and how this disavowal manifested itself both then and now. My research delves into the ways that enslaved individuals in colonial America spoke up, in courtroom testimony, about their subjugation. Thanks to archives that put these individuals’ words front and center, I show how, just as with the Black Lives Matter movement, they used their voices to call out inequities. And if we listen to what they had to say, we hear in their testimony a demand to be heard, to be seen, to be named, and above all, in a damning rebuttal of the premise of slavery, we see them put their full humanity on display.

Peter Alegi on Twitter: "https://t.co/LveH8EPAJP… "

Daryle Williams, University of Maryland, Co-PI enslaved.org and Editor, Journal of Slavery and Data Preservation (both launched, 2020)

2020 was a year when I spent a lot of time staring at Google Sheets. In the shorthand of morning domestic chatter, I merely needed to say “spreadsheets” in response to my husband’s query “what are you working on today?” A few dozens of those Sheets were created by me, for the Free Africans of Brazil Dataset, and many more were part of the terrific datasets published online for the launch of Enslaved: Peoples of the Historical Slave Trade. In time, Enslaved.org seeks to reshape the fields of slavery studies and inclusive scholarly communications, unleashing the power of linked open data to more fully see and understand experiences of enslavement for named individuals and their families. This important, collaboratively produced site aims to be a space where humanists and data scientists, academics and family historians, as well as continental Africans and people of the Diaspora re/un-cover black life matters in a fullness denied them by the archives of the transatlantic trade and its aftereffects. But in a year in which black peoples and allies took to the streets in revolt against the algorithms of oppression, I also wrestle with the fact all this work relies heavily upon the historical anti-black technologies of identification, tracking, and surveillance. From the musty ledger book and nominal registry to the stultifying and disciplining tedium of the spreadsheet, I wonder often, what are we to do when we make people into data.


To read more historians contextualizing this historical moment, I recommend first the excellent Made By History series on the Washington Post. It is edited by expert historians and sometimes they publish multiple op-eds a day written by expert historians. On the events on January 6th, Megan Kate Nelson has created a round-up of ongoing writing by historians, and Lindsay Chervinsky one for historians who have been writing about the political and other fallout including impeachment. On pandemic, Monica Green and other historians of medicine (with links) included her own and other work in this recent Twitter thread. The American Historical Association has collected a bibliography of COVID-related responses by historians.

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Dossier: Cultura, Memoria y Sociedad en los Estados Unidos
Para ser publicado en la Revista Huellas de Estados Unidos en su próximo número (N° 17, Octubre 2019) http://www.huellasdeeua.com/index.html
Coordinadores: Mariana Piccinelli (UBA) y Leandro Della Mora (UBA)
La revista Huellas de Estados Unidos llama a convocatoria de artículos para su Dossier Cultura, Memoria y Sociedad en los Estados Unidos.Se recibirán artículos hasta el día 15 de abril de 2019 (15/04/2019).Los mismos deberán cumplir estrictamente con las normas de publicación definidas en http://www.huellasdeeua.com/normas/index.html. Mails de recepción: dossierhuellaseua@hotmail.comredacción@huellasdeeua.com.

Dossier: Cultura, Memoria y Sociedad en los Estados Unidos

El crecimiento exponencial de los medios audiovisuales y la amplia difusión que poseen nos invitan a reflexionar sobre la cantidad de imágenes que se producen en nuestra sociedad. El audiovisual viene a sumar y multiplicar una gran cantidad de producciones culturales que nos interpelan y estimulan a analizarlas en función no sólo de la producción en sí, sino en base a las sociedades que representan. La fotografía, el arte visual y audiovisual, y la literatura nos ofrecen imágenes, lecturas que una sociedad hace de sí misma.Teniendo esto en cuenta damos la bienvenida a ensayos originales para un dossier que se centrará en las distintas representaciones e imágenes que durante el siglo XX y el XXI se han producido sobre la sociedad estadounidense. ¿Como se representa la sociedad estadounidense? ¿Cómo interactúan entre sí los elementos culturales y la memoria en función de la representación del pasado? ¿Cuál es la importancia de los mismos en la construcción de la memoria y la historia? Estas son algunas preguntas que guían la convocatoria del presente Dossier.Sobre la revista“Huellas de los Estados Unidos. Estudios, Perspectivas y Debates desde América Latina” es una revista electrónica semestral que busca ocupar un espacio académico poco transitado en la Argentina: el estudio de los Estados Unidos y su relación con América Latina desde una perspectiva crítica. Somos un grupo de especialistas que nos dedicamos a ello, nucleadas alrededor de la Cátedra de Historia de Estados Unidos, y la Cátedra de Literatura Norteamericana, en las Carreras de Historia y de Letras de la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras de la Universidad de Buenos Aires.Además, como siempre, se recibirán artículos sobre temáticas económicas, políticas, sociales y culturales, por fuera del dossier, para ser considerados por nuestra redacción. A tal efecto, el material de publicación se recibirá en redaccion@huellasdeeua.com.

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