In honor of Black History Month, the African-American Studies Program will host a brown bag lecture from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, in room 218 of McGannon Hall. Sowandé Mustakeem, Ph.D., from Washington University, will present "Ghosts of the Atlantic: Murder and Mayhem in the American Slaving Past."
About the lecture
On June 15, 1791, sailor John Cranston gave testimony before a federal grand jury to assist in deciding the legal fate of Rhode Island slave trader James D'Wolf, accused of throwing an enslaved African female overboard while travelling from West Africa to the Caribbean aboard the slave ship Polly. The trans-Atlantic crossing was plagued by the constant transmission of bacteria and disease, which claimed the lives of scores of bondpeople.
This case offers a useful window to explore how entangled factors of race, masculinity and power became manifested within the isolated world of maritime slavery. Knowing that the history of the American slave trading past remains largely silent in public discourses, this story of murder on the high seas foregrounds the fate of a black women whose death was set into motion by a notorious American slave trader.