Institute Outline

(View tentative Institute Outline (PDF Document).

2011 NEH Summer Institute

The Role of Place in African American Biography

June 13 -July 9 2011


PART I: Slavery, Gradual Emancipation, and Abolitionism in New England


Sunday, June 12

6:00-8:00 PM  Opening Reception

Monday, June 13

9-11:    Introductions, Institute Goals; Participant Projects                                 Core Faculty

The core faculty will introduce themselves and describe the institute's purposes, design, and various methodologies. Participants will have a chance to ask general questions, and then will be broken into smaller groups to discuss individual project ideas. The smaller groups will then return for brief reports.

1-3:      Introduction to Local and Public History            Leslie Brown and Susan           Denault

Tuesday, June 14

9-11:    Slavery in the United States                                           Charles Dew

Charles B. Dew, "The Slavery Experience," in John B. Boles and Evelyn Thomas Nolen, eds., Interpreting Southern History (1987), Peter J. Parish, Slavery: History and Historians (1989), John David Smith, Slavery, Race, and American History: Historical Conflict, Trends, and Method, 1866-1953 (1999), and Mark M. Smith, Debating Slavery: Economy and Society in the Antebellum American South (1998).


1-3:      Slavery in New England                                                            Joanne Pope Melish

Lorenzo Greene's The Negro in Colonial New England; Ira Berlin, Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America (1998); Joanne Pope Melish, Disowning Slavery; Litwack, Leon F., North of Slavery:The Negro in the Free States, 1790-1860. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961;McManus, Edgar J., Black Bondage in the North. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1973.  


1-3:      Anti-slavery Sentiment and Free Blacks in New England           Joanne Pope     Melish

Donald R. Wright, African Americans in the Colonial Era (1990);

Abzug, Robert H. "The Influence of Garrisonian Abolitionists' Fears of Slave Violence on the Antislavery Argument, 1829-40," The Journal of Negro History 55: 1 (Jan. 1970): 15-26; Andrews, Dee E. "Imagining Emancipation: Recent Writings on American Antislavery," The Massachusetts Historical Review 4 (2002): 117-130.

Wednesday, June 15

9-11     The Atlantic Slave Trade and New England Slavery                  James T. Campbell

READINGS: John Thornton, Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1680 (2nd ed., 1998), Hugh Thomas, The Slave Trade, N.Y.: Simon & Schuster, 1997, Jay Coughtry, The Notorious Triangle: Rhode Island and the African Slave Trade, 1700-1807 (Philadelphia: Temple Press, 1981).

1-3       New England's Colleges and Regional Slavery  James T. Campbell and             Joann Pope Melish

            Brown University's Slavery and Justice Report (2006)

Thursday, June 16

SITE VISIT:  Ashley House, Sheffield, Massachusetts 

9-11     Elizabeth "Mum Bet: Freeman: A Biography      David Levinson and Emilie        Piper

Sidney Kaplan and Emma Nogrady Kaplan, The Black Presence in the Era of the American Revolution (Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1989). 
"The Mum Bett Case," Massachusetts Constitution Judicial Review, .

1-3       "Searching for Mum Bett: the documents"         David Levinson and Emilie        Piper

Brom & Bett v. Ashley (1781); Will of Elizabeth "Mum Bett" Freeman; The Quock Walker case (1783)

Friday, June 17 

            Research Day


Monday, June 20

9-11     Lucy Terry Prince and Abijah Prince: A Case Study                  Gretchen Gerzina

Gerzina, Gretchen Holbrook (2008). Mr. and Mrs. Prince: How an Extraordinary Eighteenth-Century Family Moved Out of Slavery and Into Legend; Gay Gibson Cima, "Phillis Wheatley and Black Women Critics: The Borders of Strategic Visibility," Theater Journal 52:4 (2000), 465-495.

1-3       The Life of Harriet Wilson                                                         Jerrianne Boggis

Gardner, Eric. "'This Attempt of Their Sister': Harriet Wilson's Our Nig from Printer to Readers," The New England Quarterly 66: 2 (June 1993): 226-246. Ernest, John. "Economics of Identity: Harriet E. Wilson's OUR NIG. PMLA, 109 (May 1994): 424-38.;Gates, Jr., Henry Louis and David Ames Curtis. Establishing the Identity of the Author of OUR NIG," in Wild Women in the Whirlwind: Afra-American Culture and the Contemporary Literary Renaissance, ed. Joanne M. Braxton and Andree Nicola McLaughlin. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1990; White, Barbara A. "OUR NIG and the She-Devil: New Information about Harriet Wilson and the `Bellmont' Family." American Literature 65 (March 1993): 19-52.


Tuesday, June 21

9-11     New England in the Age of Revolution                          Gary Nash

Ira Berlin and Ronald Hoffman, eds., Slavery and Freedom in the Age of the American Revolution (1983); Paul Finkelman, Slavery and the Founders: Race and Liberty in the Age of Jefferson (1996); Sylvia R. Frey, Water from the Rock: Black Resistance in a Revolutionary Age (1991) David Brion Davis, The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution (1975).


1-3       African Americans and the Revolutionary War               Gary Nash

Foner, Philip. Blacks in the American Revolution. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1976; Lanning,Michael. African Americans in the Revolutionary War. New York: Kensington Publishing, 2000; Quarles, Benjamin.The Negro in the American Revolution. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1961; Gary Nash, The Forgotten Fifth: African Americans in the Age of Revolution , 2006.


Wednesday, June 22

9-11     Agrippa Hull, Tadeus Kosciuszko, and Thomas Jefferson          Gary Nash

Frey, Sylvia R. Water From the Rock: Black Resistance in a Revolutionary Age. Princeton, NJ, 1991;  Gary Nash and Graham Hodges, Friends of Liberty: A Tale of Three Patriots, Two Revolutions, and the Betrayal that Divided a Nation: Thomas Jefferson, Thaddeus Kosciuszko, and Agrippa Hull, 2008


 1-3      Challenges of African American Biographical Research  Gary Nash


Thursday, June 23

9-11     Black New England Clergy and the Abolition Movement           Dennis Dickerson

Banks, William L., The Black Church in the US. Haverford, PA: Infinity,1999-2001; Battle, Michael, The Black Church in America: African American Christian Spirituality. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2006; Lincoln, Charles E. And Lawrence H. Mamiya, The Black Church in the AfricanAmerican Experience. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1990; W.E.B. Du Bois, The Negro Church (1903); Jones, Lawrence 1978 "The organized church: its historic significance and changing role in contemporary black experience". Pp. 103-40 in Harry A. Johnson (ed.), Negotiating the Mainstream:A Survey of the Afro-American Experience. Chicago: American Library Association; Pope, Liston 1964 "The Negro and religion in America." Review of Religious Research 5:142152.


1-3       The Abolitionist Sermons of Rev. Samuel Harrison                    Dennis Dickerson

Childs, John Brown, 1980 The Political Black Minister. Boston: G. K. Hall; Hamilton, Charles V. 1972 The Black Preacher in America. New York: William Morrow; Alston, Jon P., Charles W. Peek, and C. Ray Wingroveb, 1972 "Religiosity and black militancy: a reappraisal". Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 11:252-261; Swift, David E., Black Prophets of Justice: Activist Clergy before the Civil War (1989); Lewis, Harold T., Yet With a Steady Beat: The African American Struggle for Recognition in the Episcopal Church (1996); Raboteau, Albert J., Canaan Land: A Religious History of African Americans (2001); Saillant, John, Black Puritan, Black Republican: The Life and Thought of Lemuel Haynes, 1753-1833 (2002)

Friday, June 24

9-11     Film: A Trumpet at the Walls of Jericho: The Untold Story of Samuel           Harrison (2005)

1-3       SITE VISIT: Samuel Harrison House and Second Congregational Church, Pittsfield, Massachusetts



PART II: Berkshire County and Harlem


Monday, June 27

9-11     History from Local Roots to National Prominence         Frances Jones- Sneed;

African American Literary Links in Berkshire County     Richard Courage;

Material Culture and African Americans                                    Robert Paynter

Patricia Samford, " The Archaeology of African-American Slavery and Material Culture," The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, Vol. 53, No. 1, Material Culture in Early America (Jan., 1996), pp. 87-114; Levinson, Fletcher, Jones-Sneed, eds.African American Heritage in the Upper Housatonic Valley (2006)

1-3       Participants Project Updates

Tuesday, June 28

9-11     Origins of the Modern Civil Rights Movement   David Levering Lewis

Robert Korstad and Nelson Lichtenstein, "Opportunities Found and Lost: Labor, Radicals, and the Early Civil Rights Movement," The Journal of American History, Vol. 75, No. 3 (Dec., 1988), pp. 786-811; Steven F. Lawson, "Freedom Then, Freedom Now: The Historiography of the Civil Rights Movement," The American Historical Review, Vol. 96, No. 2 (Apr., 1991), pp. 456-471; Hall, Jacquelyn Dowd, The Long Civil Rights Movement and the Political Uses of the Past. The Journal of American History 91.4 (2005): 66 pars. 2 Mar. 2010; Adam Fairclough , "Historians and the Civil Rights Movement," Journal of American Studies, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Dec., 1990), pp. 387-398.

1-3       W.E.B. Du Bois: A Berkshire Prodigy                           David Levering Lewis

D.L. Lewis,  W. E. B. Du Bois, 1868-1919: Biography of a Race, chapters 1-3; Du Bois, Darkwater(1920); Du Bois, Dusk of Dawm(1940)

Wednesday, June 29

9-11     The Harlem Renaissance as a Social and Political Movement David Levering     Lewis

Cheryl Wall's Women of the Harlem Renaissance, Houston Baker's Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance, Ann Douglas' Mongrel Manhattan in the 1920s, and George Hutchinson's The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White.


1-3       Harlem Renaissance and W.E.B. Du Bois                     David Levering Lewis

Lewis, David Levering, When Harlem Was In Vogue. New York: Penguin Books, l997; ; Huggins, Nathan Irvin. Harlem Renaissance. New York: Oxford University Press, 1971.


Thursday, June 30

9-11     The Tradition of Black Photographic Masters                Deborah Willis

Kelbaugh, Ross J., Introduction to African American Photographs, 1840-1950 (2005); Byrd, Rudoloph P. ed., Generations in Black & White (1993); Willis, Deborah (2000). Reflections in Black: a history of Black photographers, 1840 to the present. New York: W.W. Norton.

1-3       James Vanderzee : A Case Study                                  Deborah Willis

Willis-Braithwaite, Deborah, Van Der Zee: Photographer, 1886-1983 (1993); Willis, Deborah; Howard Dodson (1989). Black photographers bear witness: 100 years of social protest. Williamstown, MA: Williams College Museum of Art.

Friday, July 1

SITE VISITS:              Lenox, Massachusetts and Stockbridge, Massachusetts



9-11:                            OPTIONAL (Reading of the Declaration of Independence at Chapin Library)

Tuesday, July 5

9-11                             The New Negro: A Literary Movement Amritjit Singh

Locke, Alain, ed.  The New Negro:  Voices of the Harlem Renaissance.  New York, NY: Touchstone, 1991; Marks, Carole and Diana Edkins.  The Power of Pride:  Stylemakers and Rulebreakers of the Harlem Renaissance.  New York:  Crown Publishers 1999; Nadell, Martha Jane.  Enter the New Negroes: Image and Race in American Culture.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004.

1-3                               W.E.B. Du Bois and James Welson Johnson     Amritjit Singh

Du Bois,  Souls of Black Folk, James Weldon Johnson, Autobiography of an Ex-colored Man, and Du Bois, Dark Princess

Wednesday, July 6

9-11                             W.E.B. Du Bois and Crisis Magazine                Amritjit Singh

Abby Arthur Johnson, " Literary Midwife: Jessie Redmon Fauset and the Harlem Renaissance," Phylon (1960-), Vol. 39, No. 2 (2nd Qtr., 1978), pp. 143-153; David Levering Lewis,   Dr. Johnson's Friends: Civil Rights by Copyright during Harlem's Mid-Twenties , The Massachusetts Review, Vol. 20, No. 3 (Autumn, 1979), pp. 501-519.

1-3                               African American Culture and the HR               Amritjit Singh

Singh, Amritjit, William S. Shiver and Stanley Brodwin, eds.  The Harlem Renaissance, a Re-Evaluation.  New York:  Garland, 1989; Wintz, Cary D.  Black Culture and the Harlem Renaissance.  Houston, TX:  Rice University    Press, 1988.

Thursday, July 7

The Papers of W.E.B. Du Bois             UMASS-Amherst Library

Friday, July 8

SITE VISIT: W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite and tour of Du Bois hometown, Great Barrington, MA

Saturday, July 9

9-11                             Project Progress Reports                                  Institute Participants

                                    Institute Evaluations                              Institute Participants

This seminar is supported by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency.

MCLA is public liberal arts college in North Adams, Massachusetts.