There is one thing I do have in common with archaeologists like Alexandra Chan. I spend more time than the average person would care to digging through archives and libraries. Therefore, big ups must go to Library at 121 Hope St, Providence. It was there I uncovered more detail than I ever thought I would about the particulars of the Brown family dealingts. Way more detail.
Photos from Newport Friday, Jul 30 2010
Newport, Rhode Island. The epitome of a resort community. Sparkling blue waters, stately and striking mansions, upscale and unaffected residents and tourists wearing their wealth with the ease of old pros. Behind the scenes, however, lurks the legacy of chattel slavery. Let’s examine some photos, shall we?
John Brown: Large and Loud Wednesday, Jul 28 2010
“Now over on your left you can see a reproduction of John Brown’s carriage. He would use this on longer trips.” The docent leaned against one of the wheels. It was a good head taller than he was. I estimated that I beat its diameter by only an inch or two. “It is much larger than carriages of its type, partially due to Brown’s obesity in his later years and partially due to his desire to impress.” John Brown and Isaac Royall, I thought to myself. Two “nouveau riche” peas in a pod.
Not that John Brown Tuesday, Jul 27 2010
So . . . after a trip to Rhode Island and then another trip to Buffalo, catching up on a full week of work, unpacking, doing laundry, finding a new apartment and cleaning my room, I am finally back to typing up my research notes. The good news? There are a lot of them, and they’re backed up, so I have plenty to keep myself occupied until my next trip to Providence! Which means I should be posting these on a more regular basis. Um. Yey?
More photos from the Royall House Tuesday, Jul 6 2010
Uncategorized 7:01 pm
“Slaves” versus “Enslaved Africans” Saturday, Jul 3 2010
In The Partly Cloudy Patriot Sarah Vowell describes a tour she took of Salem, MA. Walking past one farm’s slave quarters she notes that her tour guide, a teenager with an upward canting voice that “puts every sentence into the interrogative,” gestures to them calling them “where the enslaved Africans lived.”
Vowell is taken aback. Thinking it’s an overly PC term she asks why they’re not just termed “slaves.” The tour guide responds “we’re trying to point out that it’s not all they were. Vowell opines that she “gets it” but is critical of the neologism. After all, when one is a slave, the point is that “that’s all you are.” Moreover changes in terminology such as “enslaved Africans” can have the unfortunate consequence of downplaying the sheer horror of the situation in favor of the comfort of modern sensibilities.
I mention Vowell’s account because, when touring the Royall house, the docent referred to “enslaved Africans” rather than slaves. It was the first time I’d heard it in person and I began wondering is this a New England slavery thing? Or perhaps it’s unique to the farm? There was only one way to find out.