SPECIAL EDITION April 2013

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From the Director

Exhibition Commemorates Emancipation Proclamation

Lecture by Dr. Adam Fairclough

Amistad Joins Community Partners
 

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From the Director

President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, effective January 1, 1863. It was a major step towards the abolition of slavery, and it helped to fulfill promises of the Declaration of Independence. President Barack Obama has called upon all Americans to observe the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and celebrations that reaffirm the timeless principles upheld by the document.

 

The Amistad Research Center is pleased to commemorate this historically significant event with a display of rare documents and famous artwork drawn from the vast holdings in its collections.Curators Christopher Harter and Andrew Salinas focus on emancipation as a longstanding social process. The exhibition acknowledges Lincoln as a political leader who guided the country through the Emancipation Proclamation, but it also focuses on abolitionists, slaves, and free persons of color who were involved with the issue of slavery long before politicians would touch it. Details on the exhibition are found below in this special issue of e-Amistad Reports
 
This issue also provides staff an opportunity to communicate upcoming lectures and community partnerships that allow Amistad the opportunity to reach out to the community that helps support the Center's efforts. We hope you enjoy this issue of e-Amistad Reports and can participate in the events described herein.

Executive Director
Lee Hampton
Current Exhibition Commemorates Emancipation Proclamation
Amistad Exhibition Gallery
The Amistad Research Center is pleased to continue its 2013 exhibition schedule with a display commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. From April 2 - June 28, 2013, the exhibition Am I Not a Brother, Am I Not a Sister?: An Exhibition to Commemorate the Emancipation Proclamation will be on display in the Center's Reading Room and Exhibition Gallery. The exhibition is open to the public during Amistad's hours of Monday-Friday, 8:30-4:30. An online checklist for the exhibition is available. 

 

The exhibition highlights documents from Amistad's many collections that provide personal narratives concerning the international slave trade, the abolitionist movement, and the eventual emancipation of enslaved persons in the United States. Highlights include letters describing contemporary reactions by former slaves after the Proclamation was issued; photographs, correspondence, and printed works about abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Tubman, Thomas Clarkson, and others; papers of a family of free persons of color in Virginia and Boston; documents concerning the founding of the Freedmen's Bureau; as well as documents chronicling slavery and the continued struggles African Americans faced following emancipation. You can learn more about the exhibition and view images thanks to some recent media coverage here and here

 

Visitors are welcome to stop by the Center to view the exhibition. Groups interested in scheduling tours of the exhibition are encouraged to contact the Center at (504) 862-3222 or email info@amistadresearchcenter.org.  

Amistad Hosts Lecture and Exhibition Reception
As part of a reception for Amistad's current exhibition commemorating the Emancipation Proclamation, historian Adam Fairclough will present a talk entitled "Raford Blunt and the Struggle for Emancipation in Natchitoches, Louisiana, 1865-1878" on Thursday, May 9, at 6:00pm. The evening will include a reception and guided tours of the Center's exhibition.

Dr. Fairclough is a Professor of American History at Universiteit Leiden in the Netherlands. His areas of focus are on Reconstruction, race and politics in Louisiana, and the Civil Rights Movement. His publications include: To Redeem the Soul of America: The Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King, Jr., Race and Democracy: The Civil Rights Struggle in Louisiana, 1915-1972, Teaching Equality: Black Schools in the Age of Jim Crow, and Better Day Coming: Blacks and Equality, 1890-2000.
 
His talk will focus on Raford Blunt, a teacher, Baptist minister, Prince Hall Mason, and politician in northern Louisiana, and a member of the Republican Party in Natchitoches Parish. During Congressional Reconstruction, the Republican Party attempted to make emancipation real by giving full citizenship and voting rights to former (male) slaves. Ex-slaves in cotton parishes like Natchitoches dominated politics through the strength of their votes. Adored by blacks, Blunt was feared and hated by whites. When Democrats expelled him from Natchitoches Parish at the point of a gun, the Republican party collapsed. The promise of true equality gave way to the dark period of Jim Crow.


Those interested in attending the talk and reception can RSVP to the Center at (504) 862-3222.
Amistad Joins Community Partners

In addition to Amistad's current exhibition on the Emancipation Proclamation, the Louisiana Philharmonic, with the Tulane and Xavier University Choirs, will join Cuban-American composer and Newcomb College Alumna Odaline de la Martinez in the world premiere of "The Crossing," Part II of the "Slavery Trilogy." The work is a large scale choral and orchestral piece that will be performed in commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation. It takes place Saturday, April 27, 8:00 p.m. at Tulane's Dixon Hall. Admission is also free and open to the public. More information is available here.

 

Amistad is partnering with the Louisiana State Museum and the French-American Chamber of Commerce Gulf Coast Chapter to present "Origins of the Code Noir," a lecture by Dr. Vernon Valentine Palmer. Dr. Palmer is the Thomas Pickles Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Eason Weinmann Center for Comparative Law at Tulane University. His most recent book is Through the Codes Darkly: Slave Law and Civil Law in Louisiana.

Dr. Palmer's talk will take place on Wednesday, May 15th, at 6:00pm at the Old U.S. Mint in New Orleans. It will be followed by a tour of the Louisiana colonial archives at the Mint. Additional partners include: Alliance Francaise, the Consul General of France of New Orleans, The College of Law at Loyola University, the LSU Law Center, and Tulane University School of Law.

Those interested in attending the talk can RSVP at (504) 458-3528.