Happy (early) Juneteenth! A Reading List, Part Two

Happy early JuneTeenth again! I’m back with part two of the recommended reading list in celebration of JuneTeenth, “the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.” Part one of the recommended reading list focused on the experiences of black American slaves whose labor helped shape the fabric of America.… Continue Reading Happy (early) Juneteenth! A Reading List, Part Two

Happy (early) Juneteenth! A Reading List, Part One

Happy early Juneteenth! If you don’t know, June 19th is “the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond. Today Juneteenth commemorates African American… Continue Reading Happy (early) Juneteenth! A Reading List, Part One

Michael E. Woods: Lincoln and Douglas–and Breese? Another Look at the 1858 Illinois Senate Race

Today we welcome a guest post from Michael E. Woods, author of Arguing Until Doomsday: Stephen Douglas, Jefferson Davis, and the Struggle for American Democracy, out now from UNC Press. As the sectional crisis gripped the United States, the rancor increasingly spread to the halls of Congress. Preston Brooks’s frenzied assault on Charles Sumner was… Continue Reading Michael E. Woods: Lincoln and Douglas–and Breese? Another Look at the 1858 Illinois Senate Race

Amanda Brickell Bellows–Slavery: Past and Present

Today we welcome a guest post from Amanda Brickell Bellows, author of American Slavery and Russian Serfdom in the Post-Emancipation Imagination, out now from UNC Press. The abolition of Russian serfdom in 1861 and American slavery in 1865 transformed both nations as Russian peasants and African Americans gained new rights as subjects and citizens. During… Continue Reading Amanda Brickell Bellows–Slavery: Past and Present

Brian P. Luskey: Mary Lincoln, Labor Broker

Today we welcome a guest post from Brian P. Luskey, author of Men is Cheap: Exposing the Frauds of Free Labor in Civil War America, out now from UNC Press. When a Civil War substitute broker told business associates that “Men is cheep here to Day,” he exposed an unsettling contradiction at the heart of… Continue Reading Brian P. Luskey: Mary Lincoln, Labor Broker

Brian P. Luskey: The Civil War’s Free Labor Crisis

Today we welcome a guest post from Brian P. Luskey, author of Men is Cheap: Exposing the Frauds of Free Labor in Civil War America, out now from UNC Press. When a Civil War substitute broker told business associates that “Men is cheep here to Day,” he exposed an unsettling contradiction at the heart of… Continue Reading Brian P. Luskey: The Civil War’s Free Labor Crisis

New Talking Legal History Interviews with Kimberly M. Welch and Jane Hong

The fourth and fifth episodes of the Talking Legal History podcast series featuring UNC Press works are up! The fourth episode features Siobhan Barco talking with Kimberly M. Welch about her book Black Litigants in the Antebellum American South (University of North Carolina Press, 2018). Kimberly Welch is Assistant Professor of History and Assistant Professor of Law at… Continue Reading New Talking Legal History Interviews with Kimberly M. Welch and Jane Hong

Author Interview: Jeremy Zallen on American Lucifers: The Dark History of Artificial Light, 1750-1865

In this Q&A, UNC Press graduate student intern Eric Bontempo (@ebontemp) talks with author Jeremy Zallen about his new book American Lucifers: The Dark History of Artificial Light, 1750-1865, out this month from UNC Press. From whale oil to kerosene, from the colonial period to the end of the U.S. Civil War, modern, industrial lights brought… Continue Reading Author Interview: Jeremy Zallen on American Lucifers: The Dark History of Artificial Light, 1750-1865

Wendy Gonaver: Jailing People with Mental Illness, Part 2

Today we welcome a second guest post from Wendy Gonaver, author of The Peculiar Institution and the Making of Modern Psychiatry, 1840–1880, just published this month by UNC Press.  You can read the first installment here. Though the origins of asylums can be traced to Europe, the systematic segregation of the mentally ill into specialized… Continue Reading Wendy Gonaver: Jailing People with Mental Illness, Part 2

Wendy Gonaver: Jailing People with Mental Illness, Part 1

Today we welcome the first of two guest posts from Wendy Gonaver, author of The Peculiar Institution and the Making of Modern Psychiatry, 1840–1880, just published this month by UNC Press. Though the origins of asylums can be traced to Europe, the systematic segregation of the mentally ill into specialized institutions occurred in the Unites… Continue Reading Wendy Gonaver: Jailing People with Mental Illness, Part 1

Nina Silber: ‘Slavery’ in Depression Era America

Today we welcome a guest post from Nina Silber, author of This War Ain’t Over:  Fighting the Civil War in New Deal America, just published by UNC Press. The New Deal era witnessed a surprising surge in popular engagement with the history and memory of the Civil War era. From the omnipresent book and film… Continue Reading Nina Silber: ‘Slavery’ in Depression Era America

Oscar de la Torre: The Backlash Against Reparations for Slavery in Brazil

Today we welcome a guest post from Oscar de la Torre, author of The People of the River:  Nature and Identity in Black Amazonia, 1835–1945, just published by UNC Press. In his history of the black peasants of Amazonia, Oscar de la Torre focuses on the experience of African-descended people navigating the transition from slavery… Continue Reading Oscar de la Torre: The Backlash Against Reparations for Slavery in Brazil

Alice Elizabeth Malavasic: What’s in a Name?

Today we welcome a guest blog post from Alice Elizabeth Malavasic, author of The F Street Mess:  How Southern Senators Rewrote the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Pushing back against the idea that the Slave Power conspiracy was merely an ideological construction, The F Street Mess argues that some southern politicians in the 1850s did indeed hold an… Continue Reading Alice Elizabeth Malavasic: What’s in a Name?

Alisha Gaines: White Guilt and Allyship on WGN’s Underground

Although Underground might be flawed history—often as anachronistic as its notable musical soundtrack—it provides helpful models for resistance. Executive producer John Legend makes it plain: “What these stories are intended to do—and what I think all storytelling is intended to do in some ways—is to hopefully develop some empathy among us so that we see each other, understand each other’s backgrounds, understand each other’s stories, and also understand the inhumanity that fellow human beings were able to inflict on each other in this country that’s supposed to be the land of the free.” Continue Reading Alisha Gaines: White Guilt and Allyship on WGN’s Underground

Glenn David Brasher: A Historian’s Take on ’12 Years a Slave’

Everything you have heard about the film 12 Years a Slave is true; it is exceptionally well acted, gorgeously filmed, and brutally honest about antebellum slavery. There are moments that are extremely difficult to watch and this is as it should be, leaving audiences stunned into numbness. Film critics and historians alike have praised it as a watershed in the depiction of slavery in American cinema, and this is certainly true. Nevertheless, the film demonstrates that Hollywood has not yet fully caught up with current interpretations of slave life in the antebellum South. Continue Reading Glenn David Brasher: A Historian’s Take on ’12 Years a Slave’

Stanley Harrold: Illegal Immigrants, before the Civil War and Now

Fugitive slaves were the illegal immigrants of their time. Continue Reading Stanley Harrold: Illegal Immigrants, before the Civil War and Now

Video: Brett Rushforth on Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France

Bonds of Alliance: Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France, by Brett Rushforth”On the one hand I knew that the French were known in North America for their success at forming Indian alliances and learning Native languages, intermarrying with Native women, and fairly successfully integrating themselves into the Native communities for the purposes of the fur trade. But on the other hand, I also knew that there were households in the St. Lawrence Valley and the French colonies that held Native Americans as slaves. And I was interested in how these two things worked together.”—Brett Rushforth Continue Reading Video: Brett Rushforth on Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France

Excerpt: Bonds of Alliance, by Brett Rushforth

Between about 1660 and 1760, French colonists and their Native allies enslaved thousands of Indians, keeping them in the towns and villages of New France or shipping them to the French Caribbean. Over time, a vast network of slave raiders, traders, and owners emerged, ensnaring both colonists and Indians in the violence that generated slaves and kept them under French control. Continue Reading Excerpt: Bonds of Alliance, by Brett Rushforth

Excerpt: Help Me to Find My People, by Heather Andrea Williams

African Americans now had both more freedom to move about and more reason to believe they could begin to live the lives they had previously only imagined. For many, this meant reuniting with family, so they urgently attempted to get to the places where they thought their loved ones might be. Sometimes they found them there; other times the people were gone. Continue Reading Excerpt: Help Me to Find My People, by Heather Andrea Williams

Excerpt: Battle Hymns, by Christian McWhirter

He ordered them to leave the camp as soon as possible, but they received permission to stay one more day because of bad weather “if they behave themselves properly.” They did not. Continue Reading Excerpt: Battle Hymns, by Christian McWhirter