Abolition History

Throughout its history America has been torn in two by debates over ideals and beliefs. In The Book That Changed America​, Randall Fuller takes us back to one of those turning points, in 1860, with the story of the influence of Charles Darwin’s just-published On the Origin of Species on five American intellectuals, including Bronson Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, the child welfare reformer Charles Loring Brace, and the abolitionist Franklin Sanborn.  

Each of these figures seized on the book’s assertion of a common ancestry for all creatures as a powerful argument against slavery, one that helped provide scientific credibility to the cause of abolition.

    In our Ideas Matter segment we take time just about every week to check in with the state humanities councils in our 7-state region.

Today we learn about Reading Frederick Douglass, a statewide initiative led by Mass Humanities. Communities and organizations around the state typically organize public readings of Douglass' speech, "What is the Meaning of the Fourth of July to the Negro." We are joined today by Manisha Sinha, Professor of Afro-American Studies at University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Rose Sackey-Milligan, Program Officer at Mass Humanities. With them we explore the value of the humanities in enhancing and improving civic life.

A History Of Abolition

Feb 26, 2016

  In celebration of Black History Month there is a new book by a University of Massachusetts professor that overturns long-held assumptions about the abolitionist movement. The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition is by Manisha Sinha, published by Yale University Press.

Sinha shows that rather than being composed of white, bourgeois, racially paternalistic reformers, abolitionism was a radical movement of women and men, black and white, slave and free who supported feminism, labor rights and utopian socialism.

Relying on extensive archival research and newly discovered materials, The Slave’s Cause explores the influence on abolition of the Haitian Revolution and slave resistance.

Utica Commemorates Abolition History Day

Oct 30, 2015

  It has been 150 years since the passage of the 13th Amendment, which ended slavery in the United States. The amendment was ratified after the end of the Civil War, but the fight to end slavery took place over decades. One battle fought in 1835 in downtown Utica was commemorated last week.

More than 150 people packed into Utica’s oldest black church last Wednesday  to celebrate Utica’s abolition history day,  a day that helped change Utica and the nation’s history. They got a lesson in history and human rights.