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Using History to Make Slavery History

Arguably, contemporary American antislavery activism will be undermined and ethically compromised unless it is firmly grounded in a deep understanding of the black past.

Download and read the article “Using History to Make Slavery History: The African American Past and the Challenge of Contemporary Slavery” by the leading antislavery historian James B. Stewart, which you can find in the downloads section of this page, below.

This article argues that contemporary antislavery activism too often marginalizes the struggle for racial justice and even indulges in racist ideology. It seeks to demonstrate in specific detail how knowledge of the African American past can empower opposition to slavery as we encounter it today.

After reading the article, you can also explore the organisation that Professor Stewart founded - Historians Against Slavery. For example, it has a blog series where historians contribute research and historical context to today’s antislavery movement. Please tell us in the comments section what you think of the idea that we can use history to make slavery history, and you can link to any particularly interesting blog posts you find at the Historians Against Slavery site.

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This article is from the free online course:

Ending Slavery: Strategies for Contemporary Global Abolition

The University of Nottingham