KINGSTON, R.I. – Feb. 14, 2020 – Noted historian and author Anne C. Bailey will deliver a keynote address on “Historical Memory and the Debate over Reparations” as part of the University of Rhode Island’s recognition of Black History Month. Bailey is a professor of history at SUNY Binghamton. Her most recent book, The Weeping Time: Memory and the Largest Slave Auction in American History (Cambridge University Press), chronicles the slave auction which occurred in 1859 Savannah, Georgia.
In addition to conducting exhaustive research on the Butler family, which owned the plantation where more than 400 men, women and children were sold into slavery, Bailey conducted interviews with the living descendants of slaves sold on the auction block, showing how the memories of slavery have shaped people’s lives today.
William Jelani Cobb, American writer, author, educator and Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism at Columbia University, said of the book “This is a graceful chronicle of a wretched moment in history. This is a work of restoration, culling a crucial narrative from the silences of the past. But most crucially, this is a restoration of the humanity to those enslaved black people who were so commonly denied it.”
Her talk will examine historical memory and the ongoing legacy of slavery, including whether we can say the systemic and institutional racism that is a part of our nation’s history is truly in the past or if it also extends to other groups within the United States.
Bailey is also the author of African Voices of the Atlantic Slave Trade: Beyond the Silence and the Shame, (Beacon Press) and You Can Make A Difference: The Story of Martin Luther King Jr.(Bantam/Doubleday/Dell).
In addition to teaching and writing, Bailey has spoken around the country. She recently participated in The New York Times 1619 Project, and in 2013 she was invited to speak at the United Nations in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.
The keynote will be presented in the Hardge Forum, Multicultural Student Services Center, 74 Lower College Road, Kingston on Monday, Feb. 24 at 4 p.m.