Filmmaker’s Website: Traces of the Trade
Katrina Browne’s website gives more information on the various branches of the DeWolf family’s journey to address a dark past; facing a near collective crisis of conscience in the process. Learn more not just about the film, but about the overall legacy of the slave trade through a large collection of photographs. Use the discussion forum for an opportunity to ask questions of individual family members or share your thoughts.
Inheriting the Trade
Tom DeWolf (featured in the film) has written his own account of wrestling with the family legacy and what he learned from the trip retracing the Triangle Trade. The book’s website includes Tom’s blog and chances to engage in discussion with the author.
Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers previews Traces of the Trade and examines racial inequality in America through the prisms of the legacy of slavery and the current socio-economic landscape with perspective from historical and cultural sociologist Orlando Patterson and economist Glenn C. Loury. (June 20, 2008)
The Providence Journal: The Unrighteous Traffick
This interactive series explores the history of slavery and the slave trade in Rhode Island. For more information on the DeWolf family, scroll to Part 6: “Living Off the Trade: Bristol and the DeWolfs,” which chronicles the DeWolfs’ rise to prominence in New England, circumventing laws prohibiting Americans “carrying on any trade or traffic in slaves, to any foreign country.” Hear audio excerpts from staff writer Paul Davis as he interviews Katrina Browne, who addresses the role her ancestors played in the trafficking of human beings. (March 19, 2006)
The Root: Confronting Slavery in the Deep North
Filmmaker Katrina Browne writes about her experiences making Traces of the Trade and what she hopes viewers will take away from the film for this site started by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (June 20, 2008)
American History and Slavery
Slavery in the North
Historian Douglas Harper provides a state-by-state overview of slavery in the North. His footnotes provide a good bibliography of major historical works that have focused on the North’s role in the U.S. slave trade and practice of slavery.
Citizens All: African Americans in Connecticut 1700-1850
The website, created by the Gilder Lerhman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition and the Center for Media and Instructional Innovation at Yale University, provides a scholarly introduction to the history of slavery in Connecticut, the process of gradual emancipation, and the struggle for citizenship rights by free blacks and abolitionists both within and beyond the state’s boundaries.
Joanne Pope Melish, who is featured in the film, has written Disowning Slavery: Gradual Emancipation and “Race” in New England, 1780-1860 (Cornell University Press, 1998). Following the abolition of slavery in New England, white citizens seemed to forget that it had ever existed there. Drawing on a wide array of primary sources — from slaveowners’ diaries to children’s daybooks to racist broadsides — Melish reveals not only how northern society changed but how its perceptions changed as well.
Anne Farrow, Joel Lange and Jenifer Frank are the editors of Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged and Profited from Slavery (Ballantine Books, 2005).
Three veteran New England journalists demythologize the region of America known for tolerance and liberation, revealing a place where thousands of people were held in bondage and slavery was both an economic dynamo and a necessary way of life.
For a seminal article on the importance of slavery to the development of the U.S. economy, read Ronald Bailey’s “The Slave(ry) Trade and the Development of Capitalism in the United States: The Textile Industry in New England,” Social Science History 14:3 (Autumn, 1990), pp. 373-414.
For more books on this topic and others related to Traces of the Trade, download the American Library Association-produced Delve Deeper Reading Guide. (PDF)
“White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” (PDF)
Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” is a classic article describing white privilege and a good starting point for those who are new to the concept. At this link you can read part of the article for free.
“White Privilege Shapes the U.S.”
In this essay, journalism professor Robert Jensen expands on Peggy McIntosh’s ideas and describes how he experiences white privilege in his life.
“White Privilege: Swimming in Racial Preference”
In his brief article “White Privilege: Swimming in Racial Preference,” antiracist activist Tim Wise gives a selected historical overview of common practices that have favored whites.
Annie E. Casey Foundation: Race Matters Toolkit
The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Race Matters toolkit includes materials and strategies to help people from a wide range of professions and perspectives examine privilege.
Race and Race Relations
This conflict resolution project at the University of Colorado has a collection of hundreds of essays, handbooks, interviews and organizational links related to the process of reconciliation and various approaches to conflict resolution around the world.
This Southern Poverty Law Center site is an essential antiracist resource that promotes fighting hate by learning tolerance. The site features revealing interactive quizzes, activities and photo galleries that reveal hidden bias and hidden history.
Online NewsHour Forum: Clinton’s Race Initiative
Eleven years ago President Clinton called for and established a White House initiative to start a national dialogue about race relations in America. The original White House site for the Race Initiative has since been taken down, but these NewsHour forum archives reveal the diversity of views expressed about race in America by President Clinton’s advisory panel.
Boston University World of Ideas: Reparations Debate
Listen to audio of a 2001 Oxford-style debate about slavery reparations. Arguing in favor of reparations are Alexander Pires, an attorney for the Department of Justice; Christopher Hitchins, a contributing editor for Vanity Fair magazine and columnist for The Nation; and Matt Brown, a sophomore at the Boston University School of Management. Arguing against are Professor Glenn Loury of Boston University (see a clip from an interview here); Deroy Murdock, a columnist for the Scripps Howard News Service; and Amy Margolius, a junior majoring in journalism at Boston University. (December 9, 2001)
Brown University Committee on Slavery and Justice
In the light of historical revelations, many institutions are only now attempting to come to terms with a terrible past. Brown University appointed a steering committee, whose findings and resources are available on this site.
e-Notes: Reparations for Slavery Essays and Articles
A nice backgrounder on the history of the debate over reparations for former slaves and the descendents of slaves from the 1860s to present day. (Spring 2003)
FrontPagemag.com: “Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Blacks is a Bad Idea for Blacks — and Racist Too”
FrontPagemag.com editor David Horowitz is one of America’s most outspoken reparations opponents. In 2001, he placed an ad in several U.S. newspapers and college papers in an effort to drum up support for his anti-reparations position and caused a dust-up about free speech on several college campuses. In more recent years, Horowitz has gained media attention for his 2006 book The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America. (January 3, 2001)
Institute for Policy Studies Report: 40 Years Later: The Unrealized American Dream
Traces of the Trade website contributor Dedrick Muhammad (see “Making Amends for Slavery“) examines the progress in and challenges to economic equality between African Americans and whites since Dr. Martin Luther King’s death on April 4, 1968, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Economic Policy Institute, the Survey of Consumer Finances and other sources. Findings conclude that despite educational advances, economic equality for African Americans is still a dream, not a reality. (April 2, 2008)
“Reparations for the Children of Slaves: Litigating the Issues”
Legal scholar Charles Ogletree Jr. specializes in the study of reparations for African Americans. Available in print and reprinted on the website from the University of Memphis Law Review. (2003)
Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.): Reparations and H.R. 40
The history of H.R. 40 and Rep. Conyers’ reasons for introducing the bill in Congress in 1989, the year after the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which granted reparations to Japanese Americans who had been interned by the U.S. government during World War II.
The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks (New York: Dutton Adult, 2000) Randall Robinson is the founder and president of TransAfrica, an organization that works to influence American policy in Africa and the Caribbean. In The Debt, Robinson argues that the U.S. government has a “financial obligation to blacks.”
Should America Pay? Slavery and the Raging Debate on Reparations (New York: Amistad, 2003) Raymond A. Winbush edited this comprehensive collection of seminal essays by key participants in the debate over reparations for African Americans.
PBS and NPR
POV — Two Towns Of Jasper
The website for Two Towns of Jasper (POV 2002) features a series of conversations about race in America entitled “Beyond Black & White” hosted by Democracy Now! anchor Amy Goodman and provides an excellent set of links related to racism, privilege, dialogue and healing.
Religion and Ethics Newsweekly — “Harold Dean Trulear: Disaffection, Reconciliation and the Black Church Tradition”
Faith, race and reconciliation have become important topics in the 2008 presidential election after the controversy involving Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Professor Harold Dean Trulear speaks on black church history and reconciliation.
Africans in America
A companion website to PBS’s Africans in America television series, this site presents a series of articles on the American experiences of Africans before the Civil War.
Online NewsHour: “Considering Reparations”
In September 2000, Chicago City Council members decided it was time for a national discussion on reparations. Online NewsHour reports on the conversation around apologies, the legacy of slavery and what’s at stake in this debate.
News & Notes — What’s Behind Apologies for Slavery?
Learn more about how some governments, corporations and institutions are attempting to repair the damages of slavery in this discussion with New York assemblyman Keith Wright. (July 9, 2007)
Special Report — Making Amends: Debate Continues Over Reparations for U.S. Slavery
As Americans question the best way to heal the wounds of slavery, some suggest salve might come in some form of slavery reparations. This 2001 series explores the history and nuances of the slave reparation debate in the United States. (Aug. 27, 2001)