Tomorrow, March 21, 2015, the Library of Virginia is co-hosting what promises to be a fascinating two city symposium To Be Sold: The American Slave Trade from Virginia to New Orleans. Noted speakers will discuss the slave trade between Richmond and New Orleans–how it operated and its impact on families and communities. Unfortunately, all spots for the event have been taken, but don’t despair! The event will be streaming live and filmed by the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab for later viewing through the Library’s website.
Featuring distinguished scholars Maurie McInnis, Charles B. Dew, Alexandria Finley, Calvin Schermerhorn, and Phillip Troutman, the first half of the event, from 9 am to 12:45 pm, will be held at the Library of Virginia. The afternoon session will shift focus to the Crescent City, as Walter Johnson, Stephanie Jones-Rogers, Larry Powell and Adam Rothman will be telecast from the Williams Research Center in New Orleans. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage in discussions with panel members in both cities.
This highly anticipated event is in conjunction with the Library’s To Be Sold exhibit, which examines the slave trade in Richmond and the “second passage” or the forced passage of slaves from the Upper South to the Deep South. To tell the story, the exhibit relies on a wide variety of primary source materials from receipts and census records to slave inventories and newspapers—central to the exhibit, are oil paintings done by nineteenth century English artist Eyre Crowe, depicting slave markets in Richmond and Charleston, S.C. The collection of materials used in the exhibit, drawn from the Library and other institutions, powerfully conveys the devastation of slavery and the slave trade.
Because this is the Fit to Print blog, we’d like to mention newspapers and their part in telling the stories of Virginia. Below are just a few among countless examples of slave related articles from both Richmond and New Orleans newspapers found in Virginia Chronicle and Chronicling America—these online resources, both free and text-searchable, are an invaluable tool for historians, genealogists and anyone interested in history.
Newspapers, though, are just one important piece of entire research montage—To see how primary sources, when brought together, tell an evocative story and bring clarity to the past, please take a walk through the To Be Sold exhibit at the Library of Virginia before it closes 30 May 2015.