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Course Catalog > Courses: Summer

ZOOM: Fighting Slavery in Early America   

**This class will be taught on Zoom**

**Note that this class will skip July 8 and end on July 15. HOWEVER, Dr. Bell will be in San Francisco on July 8th and will offer an in-person Mini Course, 3:00 - 5:00 on Alexander Hamilton. That class is listed with the July Mini Courses.**

How do you slay a many-headed monster? How do you destroy an entrenched special interest that profits from treating people like property? In the decades between 1619, when the first enslaved Africans arrived, and 1787, when delegates in Philadelphia drafted the new federal constitution, men and women committed to opposing the spread of slavery in North America grappled with these questions. This six-week course offers you the opportunity to meet a large and often unfamiliar cast of characters—both Black and white, enslaved and free—who developed a range of tools and tactics, means and methods to escape slavery or try to resist it.
 

Week by Week Outline: 

FIRST HOUR: Fighting Slavery: Introduces the course’s core proposition: that the demise of slavery in America was the result of many decades of struggle, opposition, and resistance by a large and often unfamiliar cast of characters.

SECOND HOUR: Why Slavery Spreads: Origins of Slavery in the British Empire: Explores the demand-drive rise of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the ruthless efforts of English slave traders to steal market share from the Spanish and Portuguese

 

FIRST HOUR: Opposing the Slave Trade in Africa: Examines varieties of resistance to the Transatlantic Slave Trade within Africa, before any African captives ever boarded the great prison hulks that would carry them across the Atlantic.

SECOND HOUR: Saltwater Slaves: Explores the ways captives—working sometimes individually, sometimes collectively—fought slavery on the Middle Passage.

 

FIRST HOUR: Anthony Johnson: Examines what was possible for black slaves in 17th century Virginia, using the changing fortunes of a black man named Anthony Johnson as a case study.

SECOND HOUR: Quakers & Puritans: Explores the first antislavery activism by white Europeans in colonial America, focusing on religious communities in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

 

FIRST HOUR: Why Slavery Spreads: Thomas Thistlewood and the Plantation Revolution: Explains how the 18th century plantation revolution succeeded in terrorizing black-majority populations across the South, using the plantation management strategies of Jamaica’s Thomas Thistlewood as a case study.

SECOND HOUR: Phibbah Thistlewood: Explores forms of resistance that were particular to black women on 18th century southern plantations, using Thomas Thistlewood’s long time sexual partner, an enslaved woman named Phibbah, as a case study.

 

FIRST HOUR: The Negro Insurrections: Examines the common elements in the dozens of slave uprisings or suspected conspiracies in British North America, using the 1739 Stono Rebellion in South Carolina as a case study.

SECOND HOUR: The Hermit, The Shopkeeper, The Schoolteacher

Reconstructs the crusades of three Quaker men—Benjamin Lay, John Woolman, and Anthony Benezet—who succeeded into turning most Quakers to the cause of antislavery in the middle decades of the 18th century.

 

FIRST HOUR: Declaring Independence: Examines the multifaceted ways that black Americans seized the unique opportunities provided by the war for independence to declare their independence from slavery in the eighteenth century.

SECOND HOUR: Claiming Legal Freedom: Explores black activists’ efforts to secure the abolition of slavery in the northern states after the Revolution and enslaved southerners’ far less successful efforts to do likewise in states south of Pennsylvania.

 
  • ZOOM: Fighting Slavery in Early America
  • Fee: $125.00
    Dates: 6/3/2024 - 7/15/2024
    Times: 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
    Days: M
    Sessions: 6
    Building: Online
    Room:
    Instructor: Richard Bell
    Seats Available: 47

    **This class will be taught on Zoom**

    **Note that this class will skip July 8 and end on July 15. HOWEVER, Dr. Bell will be in San Francisco on July 8th and will offer an in-person Mini Course, 3:00 - 5:00 on Alexander Hamilton. That class is listed with the July Mini Courses.**

    How do you slay a many-headed monster? How do you destroy an entrenched special interest that profits from treating people like property? In the decades between 1619, when the first enslaved Africans arrived, and 1787, when delegates in Philadelphia drafted the new federal constitution, men and women committed to opposing the spread of slavery in North America grappled with these questions. This six-week course offers you the opportunity to meet a large and often unfamiliar cast of characters—both Black and white, enslaved and free—who developed a range of tools and tactics, means and methods to escape slavery or try to resist it.

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