The Politics of Race and Black American Intellectuals in the Antebellum Era

Claremont Discourse presents:

Rita Roberts, Associate Professor of History and Black Studies, Scripps College
Wednesday, February 21st, 4:15 PM 2007

Founders Room, Honnold/Mudd Library
Snacks provided; discussion to follow.

Frederick Douglass said that "a little learning, indeed, may be a dangerous thing, but the want of learning is a calamity to any people." He may have said this because he knew, as a member of a people in shackles, that the activities of the mind are the required prerequisite to bringing about social change. Fighting oppression with eloquence - at once weapon and proof of active minds, African American activist - intellectuals living in the period before the Civil War confronted enormous challenges. They, along with white abolitionists, succeeded in placing the question of the morality of slavery on the national agenda but at the same time faced the solidification of biological racism in the national discourse that justified not only the enslavement of people of African descent but also racial discrimination in public and private life.

In this lecture, based on her forthcoming book, A New Vision, A New People: Evangelicalism and the Politics of Reform in Antebellum Northern Black Thought, Professor Roberts will explore the activists' understanding and solution to antebellum American racism through the writings and speeches of men and women determined to end racism and slavery simultaneously.

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