NPR Feature on a Photo History of Slavery in Brazil

While we commemorate the 150th anniversary of Emancipation in the United States, we’d also like to remember that slavery in the Americas did not end completely until 1888 when Brazil finally abolished slavery. Although photographic processes had been around since at least 1838, technological improvements in the later half of the nineteenth-century allowed slavery in Brazil to be photographed in greater detail. However, it was not until recently that the images were enlarged to show the brutal truths of slavery. A new exhibition in Sao Paulo, Brazil offers a more in-depth look at slavery through the preserved photographs. NPR recently featured the exhibit on their Morning Edition news program. In part of their interview, Lilia Schwarcz, one of the exhibit’s curators, says that they do not want to only show the slaves as victims.

Machado says many slaves were running away, while others had formed armed bands and were revolting. The enlarged images show the look in the eyes of the slaves. The battle, says Lilia Schwarcz, is very evident.

“They were fighting for their freedom,” she says. “So you have here a discussion about freedom.”

For more information and a video, check out the link here.


Project Highlights

In preparation for today’s wrap-up discussion I’ve drawn up a list of highlights of the Jubilee Project from September 2012 — the anniversary of the publication of the Emancipation Proclamation — to now — the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. It’s a pretty long list, but I think worth publishing in full.

Jubilee Project—some highlights so far

September 2012—Avery Center Black Power conference

October 2012—College of Charleston Theatre Department, Flyin’ West

–SC State University, Stanback Museum, “Africa Revisited” exhibition

–Upcountry History Museum, “Freedom Stories” mini-conference

November 2012—Penn Center, Annual Heritage Days, 150th anniversary celebration

New Year’s Eve/Day—Watch Night Services; Emancipation Day parade

January 2013—Gibbes Museum, “Witness to History” exhibition

–Charleston Symphony Orchestra Spiritual Ensemble, “Freedom Rides On” concert

–Clemson University, Integration at Clemson commemoration

–Southern American Studies Association conference

–St. Helena Branch Library, “Reflections of St Helena Island” presentation

February 2013—CSO Spiritual Ensemble, “Ode to the Fisk Jubilee Singers” concert

–College of Charleston, “Unity through Song,” Claflin University Concert Choir

–Magnolia Plantation, ASALH luncheon

–Charleston Stage, A Woman Called Truth

Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission, “Heritage Days”

–Clark Atlanta University, WEB Du Bois conference

–College of Charleston, “Education for Emancipation” seminar

–College of Charleston, Nancy McGinley issues an apology on behalf of CCSD at College of Charleston’s “Education for Emancipation” seminar commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the desegregation of South Carolina public schools

–Charleston Preservation Society, Civil Rights Era Panel Exhibit Opening

–Caw Caw Interpretive Center, “Rice and Liberty: The Stono Rebellion”

–Riley Center for Livable Communities, “Tru Emancipation een de Gullah/Geechee Nation”

–Penn Center, “Tribute to the Civil Rights Movement”

March 2013—Agnes Scott College, Collegium for African American Research conference

–College of Charleston, African Literature Association conference (including “I Have Known Rivers” ceremony)

–College of Charleston, “African American Belonging and Tourism Justice” lecture

–PURE Theatre, The Mountaintop

April 2013—College of Charleston/Circular Church, Fisk Jubilee Singers

–Ella Baker Day symposium

–College of Charleston, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” reading

–Lecture by Edna Medford at 77th Annual Meeting of the University of South Carolina’s South Caroliniana Society

–Preservation Society, Thomas Mayhem Pinckney Alliance Reception

–Preservation Society, Modern Civil Rights Era site marker unveiling

–Charleston, Charleston Area Justice Ministry kick-off event

May 2013—Columbia, The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) “Lift Every Voice” forum on collecting, archiving, preserving and teaching the Civil Rights movement

May/June 2013—Mount Pleasant, Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival

–Circular Church/Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Becoming Harriet Tubman

July 2013—Reenactment of Assault on Fort Wagner

–Fort Sumter/Fort Moultrie Trust, Fort Wagner panel discussion

–City of Charleston, Unveiling of plaque commemorating USCT role in Assault on Fort Wagner

August 2013–Gullah/Geechee Nation International Music and Movement Festival 2013

–College of Charleston, Exhibition in honor of WEB Du Bois

–College of Charleston, Commemoration of March on Washington

–Slave Dwelling Project, overnight stay at College of Charleston

–Avery Center, “Unenslaved” exhibition, paintings by Jonathan Green

— Preservation Society, S.H. Kress historic site marker unveiling

September 2013— Claflin University, “From Brown (1954) to Brown (1963) and Beyond:  Challenges of Advancing Educational Equity in South Carolina” symposium

–Preservation Society, Progressive Club historic site marker unveiling

–University of South Carolina, Desegregation Commemoration (including  appearances by Andrew Young, Nikky Finney, et al.)

–McKissick Museum, “If You Miss Me at the Back of the Bus” exhibition

–College of Charleston/Middleton Place, Lowcountry Rice Culture forum

October 2013—Preservation Society, Hospital Workers’ Strike historic site marker unveiling

— Emanuel AME Church, Charleston, Passages art show and sale

November 2013—College of Charleston, Gettysburg Address panel discussion

–Avery Center, Slavery at USC presentation

–Penn Center, Annual Heritage Days Celebration, “Eyes Still on the Prize” symposium

–SC State, Civil Rights: Then, Now, and When…?

 Jubilee Project forthcoming events

2014 Brown at 60/ Civil Rights Act at 50

2014    Slave Dwelling Project conference, Savannah, GA

2015 Decoration Day at 150

2016 Port Cities and Public Memory conference

2017 50 Years of Desegregation at College of Charleston

2018 Reconstruction Revisited: South Carolina’s Progressive Constitution (1868)

150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address

At this point, we have posted quite a few videos of people performing the Gettysburg Address. But with today as the anniversary of Lincoln’s speech, we thought Johnny Cash’s more musical interpretation makes for a nice soundtrack to accompany some facts about the Gettysburg Address.

  1. Lincoln DID prepare for his speech. Despite the contrary popular myth, Lincoln had begun researching and drafting his speech before leaving Washington D.C. While he only had a few weeks to prepare, most scholars agree that he did not wait until the train ride to begin considering his remarks.
  2. Lincoln delivered his remarks to a crowd of 15,000 people.
  3. William R. Rathvon is the only known person of that crowd of 15,000 to leave a recording detailing his experience, including a recitation of the address:
  4. While there are five known manuscripts for the Gettysburg Address, they all contain slight variations so we don’t really know what Lincoln said exactly (but we have a pretty good idea). Most scholars follow the Bliss manuscript as the standard.
  5. Lincoln was not the only person delivering a speech that day; Lincoln was not even the headliner. That honor went to Edward Everett who spoke for two hours that day. Lincoln spoke for a little over two minutes; the standard version of the speech runs to only 272 words.


Courtesy of my colleague John Warner, I’ve got a guest piece on last week’s Gettysburg Address panel discussion on the Inside Higher Education web-site. You can check it out here.

Dissing the Gettysburg Address and Regretting It–or Not

A friend has just forwarded me this interesting retraction of a dismissive review 150 years ago of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address:
Clearly these editors don’t share the same sensibility as our dearly beloved friends at the Post and Courier in Charleston South Carolina–who saw fit to publish some really pretty obnoxious comments about the GA this Veterans Day–of all days. I won’t honor the piece by re-posting it, but you’re welcome to look it up if you want to see what I’m referring to. If anyone felt moved to write a sharp rejoinder to the editor of the Post and Courier, I would encourage you to do so. Here’s a version of what I sent them yesterday–which may or may not appear:

Dear Sir,

Kirkpatrick Sale may prefer to live in a nation whose watchwords are not freedom and democracy, but I don’t think he’d like it. He may prefer to live in a nation that does not guarantee equal treatment under the law, or aspire to provide equal opportunity for all its citizens, but why the Post and Courier would publish his cynical misreading of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is beyond me. Why you should have done so on Veterans Day of all days, the day when we remember American men and women who died in the service of this nation “conceived in liberty” and dedicated constitutionally to the principle of republican government is unfathomable.  To those men and women who answered the call of the United States and went to war secure in the belief that they were risking their last full measure for principles of freedom and democracy nowhere so memorably and definitively expressed as in the Gettysburg Address, Mr Sale’s sophistry is nothing short of an insult.

Simon Lewis

Gettysburg Address Panel Discussion, College of Charleston, Monday, November 11th, 2013

With a little help from our friends in the Bully Pulpit series on political communication, the Jubilee Project held its final public program of the year: a panel discussion of the historical meaning and contemporary significance of the Gettysburg Address.  Congressman James L. Clyburn, Professor Vernon Burton (Clemson University), and Professor Brian McGee (College of Charleston) gave brief presentations that assessed Lincoln’s celebrated remarks from a political, historical, and rhetorical standpoint, respectively, before the floor was opened for questions and answers. For me, one of the strongest points made was Professor Burton’s that in 1863 there was no guarantee that by the beginning of the 21st century, Lincoln’s faith in freedom and democracy might have become so ubiquitous. Lincoln’s reference to a “new birth of freedom” should not be understood just in a local context, alluding to the expansion of freedom to those who were unfree in the slave-holding states, but in a global context where the revolutionary 18th-century drive toward republican democracy was in danger of stalling out.  

Much was also made of Lincoln’s Biblical allusions. I would suggest that the Address has in fact become an article of faith in American politics, and stands as a kind of creed in America’s secular political religion.  As such the speech reminds us of the power of ideas, and the necessity for great leaders to find words sufficient not just to express those ideas, but to inspire others to put those ideas into practice.  Without the rhetorical skill of the Gettysburg’s Address, without the soaring oratory of Martin Luther King a hundred years later, who is to say whether the principles of freedom, democracy and equality of opportunity would have been put into practice and given the force of law.

The pictures below show President P George Benson of the College of Charleston with Congressman Clyburn,; College of Charleston theatre professor Joy Vandervort-Cobb reading the Gettysburg Address at the beginning of the event; and the three panelists–Congressman Clyburn, Professor Burton, and Professor McGee.Image



Video recordings of “From Brown (1954) to Brown (1963) and Beyond” symposium now available

Any academic institution, community organization or interest group that wishes to have a  complete copy of the September 4, 2013 “From Brown (1954)  to Brown (1963) and Beyond:  Challenges of Advancing Educational Equity in South Carolina” symposium held at Claflin University should contact:
Dr. Millicent E. Brown, Project Director,
Somebody Had to Do It Project
803-535-5688   Department of History and Sociology
400 Magnolia Street  Claflin University
Orangeburg, SC 29115
All dvd copies are free, and urged for use in discussions about the historical and present day implications of the statewide desegregation process.

Gettysburg Panel Discussion Today!

We’d just like to remind you all that the Jubilee Project, in partnership with the Bully Pulpit Series, is holding a panel discussion today at 4:00 pm in College of Charleston’s Randolph Hall in commemoration of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. To help refresh your memory on what Lincoln’s speech was or why people still find it so relevant today, we have included a few videos of contemporary recitations below.

Although this is not a professionally made video, James Earl Jones transcends all possible technical difficulties with his recitation of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Sam Waterston, who played Lincoln in the 1988 movie, offered his own reading of Lincoln’s immortal words.

This two-year-old might not be able to read, but he can certainly remember Lincoln’s address.

Nickelodeon Theatre Hosts Civil Rights Sundays

The Nickelodeon Theatre in Columbia, SC along with Columbia SC 63 and SCETV are hosting Civil Rights Sundays on November 10th and December 8th. The theatre will feature Come Walk In My Shoes and Raisin in the Sun, respectively. The Nickelodeon Theatre states, “CIVIL RIGHTS SUNDAYS looks back to our past, in order to better guide us through the future.” Tickets are free and can be reserved at

The College of Charleston Commemorates the Gettysburg Address

gettysburg address

On Monday, November 11th at 4:00 pm in Randolph Hall, the College of Charleston will honor the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address with a panel discussion. The panel will feature Congressman James Clyburn, Dr. Vernon Burton, and Dr. Brian McGee. A Q&A will be held immediately after the panel followed by a meet-and-greet reception. The event is free and open to the public. For any questions, please contact Samantha Shirley at

In a recent NPR report, Scott Simon tellingly described the Gettysburg Address as the speech that “defined a nation and embodied eloquence.” It is probably one of the best known examples of political discourse in world history. Millions of American schoolchildren have at some time or other been required to memorize the speech. It should come as no surprise then (well, maybe a little surprising) that a number of celebrities have recited the Gettysburg Address as their own sort of homage to Lincoln’s dedication to the principle of government of the people, by the people, and for the people. We’d like to highlight some of the best recitations for you all.

Many people find it difficult today to separate Gregory Peck from Atticus Finch, the southern lawyer who fought for equality and justice in his own small town. It seems fitting, then, that Peck would be one of the actors to recite the address.

Colin Powell is just one of the American political figures and military leaders to honor Lincoln’s Address through recitation. Here, he reads the speech as part of the opening of the National Museum of American History.

In January 1963, George C. Wallace, Alabama governor. declared, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever!” Over the course of 1963, South Carolina schools would integrate, President John F. Kennedy promised a Civil Rights Bill, and Martin Luther King Jr. would deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech. It seems fitting that one of the ways 1963 would close is with Tex Ritter’s reminder to the American people of Lincoln’s words with his recitation of the address on the Jimmy Dean Show.

S.C State’s 2013 Homecoming features “Civil Rights: Then, Now, and When…?”

Now don’t think we have forgotten the Penn Center’s 31st Annual Heritage Days, but we know some of you may not be able to make it to the Penn Center on St. Helena’s. For those of you who are a little too far away, we have another wonderful option for celebrating African culture and the Civil Rights movement.

On Thursday, November 7th at 6:00 pm, South Carolina State University will kick-off their yearlong series, Civil Rights: Then, Now, and When…?, with an exhibition featuring professional artists’ work reflecting on today’s civil rights issues. In addition to the showcase, there will be an African art dealer from Guinea present, an interactive student theater presentation, music provided by the Stanback Student Band, and Civil Rights films shown. Special guests include David Dennis, Hank Thomas, Dr. Millicent Brown, Dr. Leo Twiggs, and Cecil Williams.

The night will also feature the I. P Stanback Museum’s revival of Africa Revisited: The Art of Power and Identity. The exhibit highlights African Art and is the only major collection in South Carolina. Africa Revisited will be on display through May 2014.

For more information, please contact Ellen Zisholtz at 803-536-7174 or Ingrid Owens at 803-536-8329 or visit their website.