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3. Utopian Promise   



7. Slavery and
Freedom


•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities

Timeline

This timeline places literary publications (in black) in their historical contexts (in red).

18th Cent. - Samuel Sewall, The Selling of Joseph, first American anti-slavery tract (1700)
- John Woolman, On the Keeping of Negroes (1754)
Peak years of British slave trade (1720-80)
Growing religious criticism of slavery as sin, rise of free black and slave Christianity (1740s-90s)


1760s - Briton Hammon, "Narrative of the Uncommon Sufferings and Surprizing Deliverance of Briton Hammon" (1760)
Enlightenment political egalitarianism conflicts with emerging Enlightenment scientific racialism (post-1750)

1770s - Phillis Wheatley, Poems (1773)
American Revolution (1775-83)
Declaration of Independence (1776)
Spanish missions founded in Alta California (1769-1823)


1780s - Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (1785)
- Olaudah Equiano, Narrative of the Life (1789)
Constitution accepts slavery, sets end of slave imports at 1808 (1789)
Four of first five U.S. presidents are slave owners (1789-1825)


1790s Haitian slave revolution leads to Louisiana Purchase (1791-1803)
Invention of cotton gin (1793)

1800s British slave trade abolished (1807)
Slave imports to United States outlawed (1808)


1810s Mexican independence wars (1810-20)



1820s - David Walker, Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World (1829)
Missouri Compromise (1820)
Denmark Vesey Conspiracy executions (South Carolina) (1822)
Chumash Indian rebellion against California missions (1824)
Andrew Jackson elected president (1828); "Jacksonian Democracy": white male equality, pro-slavery, anti-Indian wars and removals
Mexico abolishes slavery (1829)

1830s Influence of "Second Great Awakening" expands abolitionism (1830s)
Nat Turner rebellion (Virginia) (1831)
American Anti-Slavery Society formed (1833)
British Empire abolishes slavery (1833-38)
Mexican California missions secularized, rise of private peonage of native tenants (1833-36)

1840s - Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845)
New England textile industrialization tied to slave-grown southern cotton (1840s)
Slave rebellion aboard Amistad (1841)
U.S.-Mexican War; annexations include California (1846-48)
California Indian population falls from c. 150,000 to c. 50,000 from disease, violence, and starvation (1848-70)
California Gold Rush (1849-51)

1850s - Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852)
- Frederick Douglass, "The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro" (1852)
- Herman Melville, "Benito Cereno" (1855)
- Abraham Lincoln, "A House Divided Cannot Stand" (1858)
- Lydia Maria Child, "Mrs. Child's Answer" (1859)
Compromise of 1850: California a free state, other former Mexican territories open to slavery, Fugitive Slave Act
Kansas-Nebraska Act, civil conflict in Kansas (1854-65)
Dred Scott decision declares Negroes not national citizens (1857)

1860s - William Craft, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom: The Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery (1860)
- Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1863)
- Abraham Lincoln, "Gettysburg Address" (1863)
- Abraham Lincoln, "Second Inaugural Address" (1865)
White population of California over 200,000, intensifying Indian peonage (1860)
Civil War (1861-65)
13th Amendment to Constitution abolishes slavery (1865)
"Congressional" or "Radical" Reconstruction; 14th and 15th Amendments expand civil rights, affirm black citizenship (1867-77)
Formation of Ku Klux Klan (1867)
First transcontinental railroad (1869)

1870s - Lorenzo Asisara, "Punishment" (oral testimony recorded 1877; published 1890)
Civil rights, anti-Klan laws (1870-72)
End of Reconstruction (1877)

1880s
- Helen Hunt Jackson, Ramona (1884)
White "Redemption" in South, spreading disenfranchisement, lynching, debt peonage of blacks (1880s)
Dawes Act leads to wide Indian land losses (1887)
   


BIBLE QUILT
Harriet Powers, [BIBLE QUILT] (ca. 1886) courtesy of Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History.

Photo of extensive whipping scars on a slave's back
War Department, OVERSEER ARTAYOU CARRIER WHIPPED ME. I WAS TWO MONTHS IN BED SORE FROM THE WHIPPING. MY MASTER COME AFTER I WAS WHIPPED; HE DISCHARGED THE OVERSEER. THE VERY WORDS OF POOR PETER, TAKEN AS HE SAT FOR HIS PICTURE. BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA. (1863) courtesy of National Archive and Records Administration.

RUNAWAY SLAVE ADVERTISEMENT (1847)
William Russell, RUNAWAY SLAVE ADVERTISEMENT (1847) courtesy of Library of Congress, Rare Books and Special Collections Division, Printed Ephemera Collection.




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