History Lecture to Reveal New Dimensions of Slavery and Abolition in the 19th Century

 The University of Southern Mississippi continues to observe Black History Month Thursday, Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. when the Center for the Study of the Gulf South and the Southern Miss Department of History present “Shipwrecks, British Courts and Slave Emancipation in the Caribbean.” The event will be held in the Liberal Arts Building, room 101 and will feature guest speaker and history professor Dr. Rosanne Adderley of Tulane University.

Adderley will present her research on the African slave trade in the Caribbean and Gulf South, focusing specifically on the legal disputes that arose when shipwrecks, water shortages, and natural disasters brought slave ships into British courts. This talk will provide new insights into slavery and abolition and is free and open to the community.

Dr. Matthew Casey, co-director of the Center for the Study of the Gulf South, says that Adderly is an ideal guest speaker and is known for her expertise on the history of the slave trade. “Dr. Adderley is a creative, well-respected scholar and has published quite a bit on different aspects of the slave trade, making her an obvious choice to invite to Southern Miss. She’s working on many projects to expand the way we think about the slave trade and get past the one or two things we think we know about it from high school history,” Casey added.

Adderley has done extensive research on the specific experiences that women and children faced during the slave trade. This talk, however, brings the question of slavery into international courts of law.

Casey goes on to say that the lecture is interesting because it brings international law and the unpredictable weather of the Gulf region into dialogue with the intense conflicts over slavery and freedom in the 19th century. “We’re going to discover what happens if a ship is in peril when it’s in the Caribbean or the Gulf of Mexico. When a slave ship runs out of water or is shipwrecked, it creates legal conflicts about what’s going to happen to everyone on board. This is one of the places where the forces of slavery and anti-slavery collide,” Casey added.

Casey, an assistant professor of history, says the mission of the Center for the Study of the Gulf South is not only to try to understand the states in the southern United States that border the Gulf of Mexico, but to also think about other places that touch that water such as Caribbean islands and parts of Central America. Black History Month is a perfect opportunity to think about slavery within and beyond the U.S. South, he says.

For more information about the Center for the Study of the Gulf South and Southern Miss History, visit usm.edu/history or on Facebook at USM Center for the Study of the Gulf South.



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