WNPR

Ahead Of Juneteenth, Reflecting On Connecticut's Often-Ignored History Of Slavery

Jun 15, 2018

Next Tuesday is “Juneteenth”, a holiday that marks the day that slavery finally ended in Texas--two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. This hour, we learn more about Juneteenth and how the holiday came to be commemorated nationwide. The Amistad Center will explain why this day is still relevant today.

Many people think of American slavery as a Southern problem, but there were in fact enslaved people in Connecticut until 1848. We take a look at the history and legacy of slavery right here in Connecticut.

We talk with one of the authors of Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery, a groundbreaking book that grew out of reporting from the Hartford Courant. Complicity examines Connecticut’s and the Northeast’s ties to slavery.

And a performance artist will join us to share the story of a formerly enslaved Connecticut woman.

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Watch our Facebook Live video with Tammy Denease: 

**Disclaimer: This performance includes strong language that may not be suitable for all audiences**

GUESTS:

READING LIST:

Hartford Courant: Complicity: How Connecticut Chained Itself To Slavery (2002) - Read the Hartford Courant's original special investigation into Connecticut’s ties to slavery. “The fact is that politically and socially and economically, Connecticut was as much a slave state as Virginia or Mississippi. It even had that most iconic of slave institutions: the plantation. The big difference is that we hid most of our involvement because, well, we could. In large part, the slavery that Connecticut benefited from happened somewhere else.”

The Atlantic: The Quintessential Americanness of Juneteenth (2017) - “It is clear that now more than ever Juneteenth is a necessary cornerstone of the American tradition, and a worthy public holiday today. It is worthy because of the dizzying contradiction at its core—and all American holidays have at least  a touch of contradiction. It is both a second Independence Day and a reminder of ongoing oppression and continuing forms of stricture. It is a memorial to the dead and a remonstrance to those who killed them. It is a clear articulation of the fact that America can never be free until her people are free, and a celebration of the people who have worked to make it so. Juneteenth is the purest distillation of the evils that still plague America, and a celebration of the good people who fought those evils. It is tragedy and comedy, hope and setbacks.”

Chion Wolf contributed to this show.