2014 Debra L. Lee Lecture on Slavery & Justice

Event Details

Professor Deborah Willis – Visualizing Freedom: Photography & Emancipation

Brown University’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice presents a book signing and reception of Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery and lecture by Professor Deborah Willis. The book signing and reception is at 6 pm, followed by a lecture at 6:30 pm at Smith-Buonanno Hall, Room 106, 95 Cushing St. This event is free and open to the public.


Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery: In this pioneering book, renowned photographic historian Deborah Willis and historian of slavery Barbara Krauthamer have amassed nearly 150 photographs–some never before published–from the antebellum days of the 1850s through the New Deal era of the 1930s. The authors vividly display the seismic impact of emancipation on African Americans born before and after the Proclamation, providing a perspective on freedom and slavery and a way to understand the photos as documents of engagement, action, struggle, and aspiration. From photos of the enslaved on plantations and African American soldiers and camp workers in the Union Army to Juneteenth celebrations, slave reunions, and portraits of black families and workers in the American South, the images in this book challenge perceptions of slavery. They show not only what the subjects emphasized about themselves but also the ways Americans of all colors and genders opposed slavery and marked its end.

Author: Tim Blankenship

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