Event — Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington

Race and Slavery in History and Popular Culture

Where: Robert H. and Clarice Smith Auditorium, George Washington’s Mount Vernon

3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy., Mount Vernon, VA, 22121

When: Thursday, October 6, 2016, 6:30 pm

Details: Please join the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington and the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture for a roundtable discussion of race and slavery in history and popular culture, focused on The History Channel’s recent retelling of Alex Haley’s Roots.

The discussion is the public component of a four-day academic conference, Region and Nation in American Histories of Race and Slavery, and will feature leading scholars on the topics of race and slavery in early American history. Evocatively set at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the conference invites fresh examination of the role of regional histories of race and slavery and their contributions to a national history of “American” slavery. Classic historical works on the origins and development of hereditary slavery tended to view the problem of labor and race in early Maryland and Virginia as an “American paradox,” or a “peculiar institution.” Yet slavery was not peculiar to America and, far from paradoxical, was inherent to American development. By the time of the American Revolution, the Upper South held one of the largest slave populations in the Americas; their labor, and that of their descendants born into the system of hereditary slavery built by early Chesapeake law, helped fuel the expansion of the American nation in its first half century.

The conference corresponds with the opening of the first major exhibition interpreting slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Lives Bound Together: Slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

Cost: Free

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