Monday, May 4, 2009

Rum, Slaves and Molasses: Slavery and the Slave Trade in the Americas

Been a little while since I've had occasion to return to my blog and share thoughts with friends and colleagues worldwide. I'm beginning a new online term with students at St. Edwards University in Austin, TX this summer 2009. The course is one of my favorites: Rum, Slaves and Molasses: Slavery and the Slave Trade in the Americas. I love to teach it. The course grew out of my much older, more conventional course devoted to slavery and incidentally to the slave trade offered at several institutions but especially St. Lawrence University the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. After opening an extension of the University Without Walls program (Skidmore College) in the beautiful Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda my interest sharpened to the African slave trade to the Americas but especially the Caribbean. My wonderful students on Antigua introduced me to new ways of viewing the trade in human cargo and to the languages and folkways left in the wake of the horrific trade in humans. People make the best of difficult, horrible circumstances. The peoples carried off the many coasts of Africa, the African Diaspora, survived--indeed, prospered. Their experience and their survival merit our attention and admiration. I'll have more to say and share as the course gets underway next week.

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