2019 Conference

The Vesey Conspiracy at 200:
Black Anti-Slavery in the Atlantic World

Image: “Sustenance Rice” by Jonathan Greene (used with permission)

February 8 – 10, 2019
College of Charleston
Addlestone Library


 Cosponsored by the Carolina Low Country in the Atlantic World Program at the College of Charleston and by Soka University of America

Book & Publication display: A publications display, featuring works by conference presenters, will be in the Addlestone Library. Books may also be on sale in the College bookstore.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to the conference planning committee: James Spady, Simon Keith Lewis, Joseph P. Kelly, and Rebecca Shumway. Thanks also to Mary Jo Fairchild, Vincent Fraley, Clare Lorenzo, Tyler Mobley, Carin Rogers-Bronstein, and John W. White. The conference organizers wish to acknowledge the generous support of Soka University of America and especially The College of Charleston for making this event possible.


Friday, February 8
Noon – 2pm


Panel 1 – 2:15pm – 3:45pm Survivance & Memory 1           (Addlestone 227)

Sarah Stegeman – Imagined Africa in Nineteenth-Century America

Terri L. Snyder – Slavery, Resistance, and Memory in South Carolina and Georgia

Ethan Kytle and Blain Roberts – Freedom Fighter or Attila the Hun? How Charlestonians Remembered Vesey, 1822-2014

Panel 2 – 4:00pm – 5:30pm: Comparative Free Black Abolition   (Addlestone 227)

Kelli Cardenas Walsh – Resistance to slavery by two freemen from North Carolina

Maria Alejandra Aguilar Dornelles – Heroes of Freedom: Leadership and Black heroism in Pre-Abolition Rio de Janeiro

Lucien Holness – African American Antislavery Activism in Southwestern Pennsylvania

RECEPTION:  5:45 – 8:30: Reception & Keynote

Keynote: Bernard Powers (author of Black Charlestonians). Introduction by Simon Lewis

Saturday, February 9

Panel 3 – 9:00am – 10:30am: Knowing Legacies    (Addlestone 227)

Jessica S. Samuel – African American Youth and Overlooked Traditional Ways of Knowing

Rachel C. Kirby – Painting Away the Shackles of Slavery: Exploring Jonathan Green’s Depictions of an “Unenslaved” Lowcountry

Aretha Phiri – Resisting Legacies of Enslavement: A Literary Analysis

Panel 4 – 10:45 – 12:15pm: Black Fugitivity in the Contemporary World (Addlestone 227)

Jesse Olsavsky – Fugitive Slaves, Abolitionists, and the Critique of the Prison

Cheryl E. Mango – Black Radicalism, Black Consciousness, Black History, and Black YouTube

Karen Salt & Lisa Robinson – Resistance to Memory: Movement Loss, Protest Ghosts, & the Racial Life of Fugitivity.

Boxed Lunch Plenary – 12:30pm – 2:00pm: “Black Resistance to Slavery and Racism: American and African Histories”

Brandon Byrd (Vanderbilt), Douglas Egerton (Le Moyne), Ada Ferrer (NYU), Samuel Ntewusu (University of Ghana), Manisha Sinha (University of Connecticut-Storrs), and Rebecca Shumway (College of Charleston). James Spady (Soka University, chair). Comment by attendees.

Panel 5 – 2:15pm – 3:45pm: Surivance & Memory (Addlestone 227)

Patrick H. Breen – On Resistance

William D. Jones – The Irony of St. Malo: Memories of Rebellion in Nineteenth-Century Louisiana

Douglas R. Egerton – “To See What He Could Do for His Fellow Creatures”: Enslaved Women, Families, and Survivors in North American Slave Conspiracies

Comment: Jason Sharples

Panel 6 – 4:00pm – 5:30pm: Re-writing Slave Resistance     (Addlestone 227)

Anita Rupprect & Cathy Bergin – Writing Reparative Histories of Connection: The 1831 Tortola Slave Conspiracy in the Atlantic World

Brent Morris – “The Celebrated bandit Joe”: Uncovering Forest Joe’s Lowcountry Maroon Campaign of 1821-1823

Susanna Ashton – The White Preacher & the Black Slave Lecturer

Robert L. Paquette – Before Denmark Vesey: Federalists and ‘French Negroes’ in the Politics of Lowcountry South Carolina

KEYNOTE: 7:00pm

Introductory remarks: James Spady

Keynote: Michael Moore (Executive Director of the International African American Museum)

Sunday, February 10: Tours and Special Events (some details TBA)


Tour: Tour of Slavery & Vesey-related sites in Charleston

Visit: Sunday service at Mother Emanuel


Tour: Stono Rebellion marker and sites

Special event: Denmark Vesey’s Garden book event 2:00pm in the new George C. McDaniel Education Center at Drayton Hall.