How did ordinary people destroy American slavery?
For three centuries men and women committed to resisting the spread of slavery in British North America and the newly United States searched for ways to save themselves and their fellow Americans from the dehumanizing consequences of enslavement. This community offers a rare chance to step into their shoes to examine the different tools and tactics, means and methods that Americans have used to escape slavery or try to exterminate it.
You can expect to:
- Study and debate the varieties of resistance to American slavery—who fought slavery, how, and with what success?
- Develop your critical reading, writing, thinking, and speaking skills to make persuasive evidence-based arguments.
- Work in teams to conduct a community research project on modern human trafficking problems in our region.
HIST132: Fighting Slavery. How do you slay a many-headed monster? How do you defeat an economic system deaf to the cries of conscience and morality? How do you destroy an entrenched special interest that profits from treating people like property? Using contemporary sources and lots of visual materials, this course introduces us to the unceasing efforts of field workers and fugitives, of preachers and vigilantes, of soldiers and activists to overthrow race slavery in America. (3 credit course, fulfills General Education requirements of I-Series and Humanities)
Fall 2019 syllabus for HIST132
Richard Bell is Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland. He holds a BA from the University of Cambridge and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. His research focuses on the history of violence in America between the Revolution and the Civil War. He is the author of a dozen articles and two books, most recently The Lost Boys: A Story of the Reverse Underground Railroad (2019). He serves as a Trustee of the Maryland Historical Society and as a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and gets excited if you mention Hamilton: The Musical.