Category Archives: Online Resources

Barbados Mercury digitised by the British Library

In December 2018, the British Library completed the digitisation of The Barbados Mercury Gazette, funded through the endangered archives project. The digitisation team have previously written about different stages of the project; in this post the team divulge some more about the process of digitising this vital piece of Barbadian history.

The Mercury is a fantastic resource for exploring everyday life in eighteenth and nineteenth century Barbados – each issue is about 4 pages long and is replete with advertisements for consumer goods and real estate; runaway slave advertisements; shipping news; reports of community meetings and social events, and news cut-and-pasted from around the Atlantic world. To access the database, follow this link: Link to the Barbados Mercury onlineScreen Shot 2019-03-20 at 10.41.39 pm.png

Runaway Slaves in Britain: A New Database

The University of Glasgow’s Runaway Slaves in Eighteenth-Century Britain project has created a searchable database of over 800 newspaper advertisements placed by masters and owners seeking the capture and return of enslaved people who had escaped. Most of the runaways were of African descent, although some were from the Indian sub-continent and some were Indigenous Americans.

The database, which was launched this week, is fully searchable according to a wide range of criteria and includes full transcriptions and (where possible) reproductions of the advertisements. The Runaway Slaves project website also contains a wealth of background and interpretative material which will be helpful to anyone making use of the database.

As the project team note, the purpose of the database is not to replicate the objectification of enslaved people who were brought to eighteenth-century Britain as the enslaved property of white British men and women. Rather, the project team hopes that the advertisements will allow readers to explore and understand the people identified in the advertisements as historical subjects in their own right – as individuals who challenged their status and condition. The project team’s aim is that readers can use the database to uncover the individual stories of runaways, whose lives are “hidden within a few lines of faded newspaper print.” For a brilliant example of just how such lives can be unfurled from runaway advertisements, see Marisa Fuentes’ book, Dispossessed Lives (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016).

Click here to go to the Runaway Slaves in Eighteenth-Century Britain Database.

 

Caribbean Scholarship in the Digital Age: Demystifying Digital History: A Caribbean Perspective

Click this link to see the video (+ slides) of Dr Debbie McCollin’s presentation, ‘Demystifying Digital History.’ Dr McCollin discusses digital history with a focus on the possibilities for scholarship on the Caribbean. http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00015557/00012

Hélène Huet

carribeanCaribbean Scholarship in the Digital Age is a webinar series showcasing digital and/as public research and teaching in Caribbean Studies. The series provides a collaborative space for professionals to share on projects and experiences to foster communication and support our shared constellations of communities of practice.

Please join us for an upcoming event, Demystifying Digital History: A Caribbean Perspective, April 9, 2018, 11am-12pm (Miami Time).

Presenter: Dr. Debbie McCollin

Click here to participate in the online event: https://zoom.us/j/3982941835

About the Presentation:

As History and the Humanities at large came increasingly under threat in the latter 20th and 21st century new avenues were being sought to legitimise and modernise the subject areas to ensure their continuity. The use of the cyberworld, the maximisation of digital technology to support this goal, was seen as the answer to a small cadre of Caribbean scholars. However, with a Caribbean society and…

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Monumental Louverture: French/Haitian Sites of Memory and the Commemoration of Abolition

Another great Caribbean-focused post on the Age of Revolutions Blog.

Age of Revolutions

This post is a part of our “Race and Revolution” series.

By Nathan H. Dize

In May 2017, France celebrated its eleventh day commemorating the Abolition of Slavery. Throughout the Republic, mayors gave speeches and placed wreaths of flowers   before statues and plaques in homage of key figures in the history of abolition.[1] In many cities, this meant honoring Toussaint Louverture, the leader who led his compatriots in the Haitian Revolution until he was arrested, deported, and imprisoned in France from August 1802 until his death in April 1803.  However, the French Republic has done little to recognize the circumstances that led to Louverture’s death on French soil as part of these commemorative celebrations.

Monuments to Louverture often only include mention of the oft-cited “tree of liberty,” his abolitionism, or that he “died in France.” Statues and plaques of Toussaint Louverture in Bordeaux, Grenoble, and in the Château…

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Haiti Links

Haiti has been in the international news this past week, not due to anything of its own making. In the aftermath, historians of Haiti have been very active, taking advantage of the spotlight to get Haiti’s story out there, in all its complexity. I’ve compiled a list of links to some responses to President Trump’s alleged slur, as well as some digital databases which will enable research on Haiti and its past. Please feel free to contact me with any additional links or content.

Haiti: A Reading List, from the University Press of Florida. And as a bonus, these books are all 30% off until 31 January, 2018 in the Press’ New Year Sale.

Read the introduction to Laurent Dubois’ 2012 book Haiti The Aftershocks of History.

50 Haitian Children’s Books about Haiti and Haitian Culture.

Duke University’s Radio Haiti Archive – audio from Radio Haiti-Inter, documenting Haitian politics, society & culture, 1957-2003

New York Times column, 12 January 2018: Haiti’s Resilience as Seen Through Literature

Washington Post column, 12 January 2018: This is how ignorant you have to be to call Haiti a shithole

A list of responses to President Trump’s comments on Haiti, published on HNet (Humanities and Social Sciences Online) 13 January, 2018, compiled by Dr Marlene Daut, with links. See also the H-Haiti Blog.

‘Currents in Conversation: Race, Racism and Immigration’ – a panel discussion at the Carter G. Woodson Institute, university of Virginia, 22 January 2018. The discussion will be recorded and later available to listen via the Institute’s website. I’ll update this post once there is a link to the discussion, but details of the event are available here.

If you click on the tag Haiti below, you’ll see all the other posts I’ve published about Haiti – many contain details of digital resources for researching Haiti’s past.

And because I’ve spent much of this week revising a thesis chapter which touches on the Haitian Revolution and War of Independence, I must point out the excellent chronology of Haitian history (from 1492 to 1817) in Youngquist & Pierrot’s edition of Marcus Rainsford’s An Historical Account of the Black Empire of Hayti (1805). The chronology appears on pages xi-xv.

 

 

 

 

Black History Month in the UK

Black History Month in the United Kingdom runs during October. The ‘official’ website for the Month has information about the thousands of events planned across the UK. The ‘features’ tab of the website has many articles about aspects of black history, and opinion pieces. Click here for the Black History Month site.

I also noticed that David Olusoga’s book Black and British: A Forgotten History is available in ebook format for only 99p for the month (I believe only for UK customers): click here for details.

Legacies of British Slave-Ownership Website: A Review

Reviews in History has published a review by Dr Daniel Livesay  of the Legacies of British Slave-Ownership website and database. The website was created by a team of researchers at University College London lead by Professor Catherine Hall, and has been live for a few years now.  It details claims for compensation submitted by slave-owners at the time of slave emancipation—the British government promised the astronomical sum (at the time) of £20 million in compensation. As Livesay notes, the website is “stunningly-comprehensive and meticulously-researched.” In response to the review, UCL noted that a large number of colleagues from within and outside academia (myself included) have contributed to the population of the database, and this contribution is great valued.

Visit the Reviews in History website to read the review and response: Review of LBSO Website

Manuscripts online at the Beinecke Collection of the Lesser Antilles

I stumbled across this fantastic collection of digitised manuscripts today. The Beinecke Collection is held by the Hamilton College Library. They have digitised hundreds of manuscripts from the 16th-19th century relating to the Lesser Antilles – the documents include maps, correspondence, legal documents and plantation reports. A document which particularly interests me is Grenada’s Book of Patents for 1765 to 1770, which is digitised in its entirety:) I’m constantly amazed at the online resources I can stumble across as I research places far away from my desk in Australia.

Click here to access the Collection.

The picture is from the Beinecke Collection. I’ll publish a separate blogpost about the picture collection because it’s wonderful!

 

 

Endangered Archives: digitising 19th Century Haitian newspapers

The British Library’s Endangered Archives programme contributes to the preservation of archival material that is in danger of destruction, neglect, or physical deterioration world-wide.  In exciting news for historians of Haiti, the Endangered Archives programme has just approved a grant to work with the Bibliothèque Haïtienne des Frères de l’Instruction Chrétienne (BHFIC) in Port-au-Prince to digitise ninety-one Haitian newspapers published between 1813 and 1913. As set out in the Project overview, the material in the collection has been identified as BHFIC staff as vulnerable to degradation. The newspapers date from the years when Haiti was emerging from the Revolution. As the project team note, a rich and expanding international scholarship engages with the central impact of the Haitian Revolution—but research on Haiti’s post-revolutionary years “declines precipitously,” leaving an enormous gap in our understanding of the new nation after the first decade of the nineteenth century. Making the newspapers for that period accessible online will open up research possibilities in the future.

The digitised newspapers will eventually be available online via the British Library and the Digital Library of the Caribbean.

I learnt about this project on twitter—to monitor progress on the project, I suggest following Claire Antone Payton, a historian and PhD candidate at Duke University, and Erin Zavitz, Latin American and Caribbean History professor at University of Montana-Western.

Click here to go to the British Library Project Overview.