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After Slavery: Race, Labor and Politics in the Post-Emancipation CarolinasAfter Slavery is a transatlantic research collaboration between historians based in the US, Ireland and the UK. Directed from Queen's University Belfast and funded by the (UK) Arts and Humanities Research Council, the project's website offers a large...
After Slavery: Race, Labor and Politics in the Post-Emancipation Carolinas
After Slavery is a transatlantic research collaboration between historians based in the US, Ireland and the UK. Directed from Queen's University Belfast and funded by the (UK) Arts and Humanities Research Council, the project's website offers a large collection of images and transcribed primary documents from dozens of archives across the US. Its 'Online Classroom' includes ten units on the aftermath of slave emancipation in the Carolinas:
1. Emancipation: Giving Meaning to Freedom
2. Freed Slaves Mobilize
3. Land and Labor
4. Freedom, Black Soldiers & the Union Military
5. Conservatives Respond to Emancipation
6. Pursuing Citizenship: Justice and Equality
7. Gender and the Politics of Freedom
8. Planters, Poor Whites and White Supremacy
9. Coercion, Paramilitary Terror & Freedpeople's Resistance
10. Freedpeople and the Republican Party
Each unit is made up of a collection of primary sources, annotated and supplemented by a select bibliography and a series of "Questions to Consider'. Most include illustrations from contemporary sources, and plans are in place for inclusion of a series of interactive maps and link to large collection of digital images of related documents now part of the Lowcountry Digital Library.
What Scholars Are Saying about the After Slavery Website:
“This engaging website combines the most up-to-date scholarship on the aftermath of slavery with a set of provocative and fascinating documents and other materials ideal for classroom use. It will allow a broad online readership to understand where our thinking now stands on this pivotal moment in American history.”
Eric Foner Dewitt Clinton Professor of History, Columbia University Author of Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877
“This turning point in our history, explored in such detail at afterslavery.com is, sadly, mostly absent from the high school classroom. The stories of transformation and the long and arduous struggle for equality of 4 million former slaves–their struggle for recognition, freedom, and basic human rights–is rarely even touched on. After Slavery helps to fill this void in the American history curriculum by introducing cutting edge scholarship and well-chosen primary sources to bring voice to this untold story.”
Ann Claunch Director of Curriculum, U. S. National History Day; Professor Emeritus in the History of Education, University of New Mexico
“The After Slavery website explores the multiple meanings of the era of emancipation and conveys the very essence of the often tenuous struggle for freedom in starkly human terms.”
Bernard E. Powers, Jr. Director of African American Studies, College of Charleston; author of Black Charlestonians: A Social History, 1822-1885
“This is an exciting, well-conceived, and very valuable project. It promises to be a great resource for scholars, teachers, and students. The history of the Carolinas can capture the variety of experiences in the period after slavery and also reveal the depth of the challenges faced as African Americans sought to realize the promise of freedom.”
Paul D. Escott Reynolds Professor of History, Wake Forest University; author of North Carolinians in the Era of the Civil War and Reconstruction
This is wonderful. The material is well-organized and engaging for all students.
The technological aspect is excellent. Each link provides information that will keep one reading and not wanting to stop.
Time spent reviewing site:
2 years ago
Shamika Ann Mitchell
Thank you for your hard work and dedication. It is a daunting task to compile all this data. The information is valuable, but I think there are ways to improve the user experience.
The introduction page should specify the time period that is the focus for this study. The terms "post-emancipation" and "post-slavery" are vague; based on the material I browsed, the relevant dates overlap with the Reconstruction Era. However, there are those last few remaining years of the 1890s that need attention, as well. The map data is very useful, but the map also needs some data clarification (date, source, etc.) to make it more effective. Also, some of the recent information is old.
The online classroom is OK, but it needs to be more engaging - using hypertext, video, photos and audio will be extremely helpful when contextualizing this aspect of history. We take for granted that people know the context of 19th century American ideologies and attitudes, but many, many people make incorrect assumptions, based on their limited knowledge, and the pervasive myths of Antebellum America (like Gone with The Wind). It is absolutely essential that a substantial context is provided, so people can gain a better understanding of the significant obstacles African Americans faced during the later 19th century. For example, just because a white person, Southerner or not, was against slavery, did not automatically mean the person did not have racial biases. Perhaps newspaper articles, speech debate flyers, ads and cartoons will help provide that context. Even among people perceived as their allies, African Americans had to struggle against systematic and institutional racial bias and discrimination.
Also, I did not see much census and Freedmen registry data information. Perhaps I missed it? What about the Gullah population of Georgetown, Pawley's Island and the coast? How do they figure into this historical narrative? What relationships did they have with freed slaves? The intra-racial or intra-ethnic aspects of slave status, color and class are also important to examine, especially in regard to the post-emancipation era.
The site is very easy to use, but the page design, as it is, is very busy and cluttered. The beta website is more streamlined, which is less-distracting. The sizes of the text and the map should be larger. Also, for ease of access, there should be a text to speech option to provide audio for the visually imparied.