University of Virginia explores aspects of American slavery and its legacy

‘The Free State of Jones’ – Aspects of American Slavery

 The film The Free State of Jones, starring Matthew McConaughey, tells the true story of Newton Knight. He was  a white Mississippi farmer opposed to slavery, who, forced to flee the Confederacy, joins up with a group of runaway slaves. He leads a rebellion against the Confederacy. After the Civil War, he defends newly freed black people. He had a common-law marriage with a former slave.

Lisa Woolfork, an associate professor of English at the University of Virginia, discusses the fil and what it means at

Legacies of Slavery and Freedom

The University of Virginia is organising a four day Memory, Mourning, Mobilization: Legacies of Slavery and Freedom in America event starting on 14 September.

It includes public lectures and other events exploring the importance of the humanities in the modern world. Presenters include Salman Rushdie, David Simon (The Wire), and Alice Waters.

What UVA is calling The Monticello summit on 17 September, will explore  the role that public monuments and sites such as Monticello play in the history of our nation and its future, with participation from historians, artists, activists and cultural leaders, as well as descendants of those once enslaved at Monticello, to consider how the history of slavery in the United States shapes contemporary issues of race, citizenship, freedom and equality.

A United Nations World Heritage site, Monticello was owned by Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and UVA’s founder, and owner of more than 600 slaves on several plantations, including Monticello.

Further details can be seen

The University was founded by Thomas Jefferson.

Pepin’s House on Gorée Island

Madame Anna Colas Pépin ran the “Maison des Esclaves” (“House of the Slaves”), on Gorée Island, just off the coast of Senegal, feeding the French slave trade. The University of Virginia is part of an international team working to restore Pépin’s home and share its lessons with generations of Senegalese schoolchildren and tens of thousands of international visitors.

(My thanks to a blog reader for drawing my attention to these events.)

About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy, housing and environment issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. I am a member of the Love Norbury Residents Associations Planning & Transport Committees, and Chair of Nobury Community Land Trust. I write for Croydon Citizen at I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and edit the North East Popular Politics database. History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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