Dr. Hasan Jeffries wrote in his preface to “Teaching Hard History” that “the saga of slavery is not exclusively a story of despair; hard history is not hopeless history.” While the study of American slavery is filled with complex and difficult narratives of injustice and oppression, it is not a one-dimensional story of “victims.” Rather, enslaved people through their own agency fought to maintain their dignity, identity, culture, and fought for both overt and subtle forms of freedom as best they could. From choices as complex and dangerous as running away, to lamenting and communicating with community via song, to preserving and passing on traditional foodways, this panel will explore the myriad of ways enslaved people exhibited resistance, resilience and fortitude.
• Dr. Freddie Parker | Emeritus of American History, NC Central University, and author of Stealing a Little Freedom: Advertisements for Slave Runaways in North Carolina, 1791-1840
• Mary D. Williams | Singer & Scholar of African American Music
• Joanna Sierks Smith | Scholar of Foodways & Associate Director of State Outreach for Carolina Public Humanities
• Moderated by Christie Norris, Director of Carolina K-12 at UNC-Chapel Hill
This program is relevant to K-12 teachers, community college and university affiliates, international students, and anyone from the general public with interest in learning more about the topic.
This program is sponsored by East Carolina University’s Office of Global Affairs and Ledonia Wright Cultural Center, and UNC-Chapel Hill’s Carolina Public Humanities and Carolina K-12 programs.
Suggested prereading: "Teaching Hard History," by Dr. Hasan Jeffries