Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

From Slave Ships to Black Lives Matter

Friday, December 6, 2019

9:00am – 7:00pm

Peterutti Lounge, Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center

The year 2019 marks 400 years since the first enslaved Africans were brought to what would become the colony of Virginia. Today, the echoes of racial slavery continue to shape the structures and dominant discourses of America. To acknowledge and reflect on this historical fact, The Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice is hosting a series of conversations on December 5 & 6, 2019 titled From Slave Ships to Black Lives Matter. These conversations around the major legacies of racial slavery, will explore the ways its reverberations continue to shape Black life in the Americas and around the world. This program will convene local, national and international scholars, activists, curators, and students to reflect on and engage in conversation about racial slavery and its impact on the present day. This event is made possible thanks to support from the Dean of the Faculty's Office.

Complete schedule below.

Events from our Partners

9:00 - 9:15 AM:
 Opening Remarks, Prof. Anthony Bogues

9:30 - 10:30 AM: Dr. Paul Gardullo and Dr. Justin Dunnavantare, Slave Wrecks Project

Operating at the intersections of archaeology and history, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Slave Wrecks Project works to unearth remains of ships from the Atlantic slave trade to recover the histories of these voyages. Drs. Paul Gardullo and Justin Dunnavantare utilize public history and archaeology to involve young people in the project of humanizing lost experiences and everlasting traumas of the Atlantic slave trade. Join these scholars to learn about the ways the Slave Wrecks Project draws on memory to radically transform the fields of archaeology and public history and a global understanding of the transatlantic slave trade.

10:45 AM - 12:00 PM: Education and Educating as Tools of Resistance

Conceived by newly freed African Americans during the Reconstruction Era, public education for people of color has been a constant point of controversy in the United States. Centering the innovations and resistance of Black educators and thinkers, panelists will discuss their experiences, the realities of Providence Public Schools and the systemic barriers they continuously work against to advance quality education in the city. This panel will honor the work that Black activists, educators, and students have done and continue to do to create spaces for educational freedom, in the midst of oppressive systems. Featuring: Ms. Sara Jackson (CRMI Alum), Ms. Casandra Inez (Teacher at Evolutions High School), Ms. Aleita Cook (PSU student activist)| Moderator: Ms. Maiyah Gamble-Rivers

1:00 - 2:30 PM: Dr. Joy James and the CSSJ Carceral State Reading Group, Prison ‘Slavery’, Captive Maternal Abolitionism, and the Clash of Cadre Theory

The prison-industrial-complex clearly exemplifies that systematized state violence against Black people did not end with the 13th Amendment’s abolition of slavery. For its second year, the CSSJ is hosting the Carceral State Reading group, as a space for members of the Providence community to discuss the long history and current expansion of the prison-industrial-complex in the United States and abroad. Participants in the reading group come together to think deeply, share experiences, build trust, and learn from and with each other. Please join the Carceral State Reading Group in welcoming scholar-activist Joy James, who will discuss the ways that the state relies on the prison-industrial-complex as an evolving system of control of Black people in the United States and the meaning of current calls for “abolition.” Following Professor James’ presentation, participants in the Reading Group will engage in a conversation with Professor James and the audience to encourage critical self reflection about the way that we as individuals, and members of communities and institutions relate to the prison-industrial-complex.

2:30 - 2:45 PM: Coffee Break

2:45 - 4:15 PM: Black Lives Internationally

The Black Lives Matter movement has opened up a new stage of the Black freedom struggles in the United States and beyond. This event presents scholars and community organizers discussing the role of the Black Lives Matter movement in shaping activism around issues of segregation in housing, LGBTQ+ homelessness, refugee status, and the Sudanese uprising. This discussion will consider the intersections of the Black Lives Matter movement internationally and its consequences. Featuring: Mr. Jason Walker, Dr. Surafel Wondimu Abebe, Dr. Bedour Alagraa and Dr. Amanda Boston

4:30 - 6:00 PM: Councilman Prof. Silvio Humberto Passos Cunha (Municipal Council of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil and State University of Feira de Santana-UEFS) with Prof. Geri Augusto (Watson Institute, Brown)

Because racial slavery was a global system, legacies of racial slavery trancend national borders, connecting people and places. Dr. Silvo Humberto will close out the day of talks focusing on the ways that contemporary politics interact with race in Brazil. Drawing from his experience as both a scholar and politician, Dr. Humberto will speak to the contemporary moment and explore issues of race relations, affirmative action, economic development and international relations in Brazil, while grounding his analysis in the history of the transatlantic slave trade. Dr Geri Augusto will provide interpretation for this session.

6:00 PM: Closing Remarks, Professor Anthony Bogues

6:30PM: Reception at the Center for the Study of Slavery & Justice