Category Archives : Opinion pieces


The problem of using the term “mistress” to refer to enslaved women

The issue regarding the status of enslaved women as “mistress” is generating discussion on social media, this time because of a tweet by a Washington Post‘s journalist Krissah Thompson on her article highlighting the new findings on Sally Hemings at Monticello. In that tweet, Thompson referred to Hemings as the “mistress” of Thomas Jefferson, and the discussion resulted into a recent Teen Vogue article explaining […]


Slavery in the Colonial North and the Philipsburg Manor

In the last two decades scholars made significant efforts to emphasize the existence of slavery in the US north. Despite these efforts and because scholarship takes time to reach the public, national and international general audiences still think that slavery was restricted to the south of the United States. The city and the state of […]


The Ark of Return: UN Slavery Memorial to be Unveiled Today in New York City

  Today, March 25, 2015, is the United Nations International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, whose theme this year is Women and Slavery. As a scholar working on the history and the public memory of slavery days, like today are important landmarks to study how the slave past is remembered and reconstructed […]


In slavery matters, numbers are still relevant

Numbers are not everything, but in the case of the Atlantic slave trade they reveal the importance of the institution of slavery and the size of populations of African descent in the Atlantic world. I am surprised to see how recently published academic books still ignore the findings of the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database. The database […]


Finally in Brazil: Heritage Trails of the Atlantic Slave Trade

Historians Hebe Mattos and Martha Abreu published an excellent article on their weblog (it is in Portuguese and featured on this website in the menu Digital initiatives) about the new heritage trail of Valongo Wharf, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Hebe and Martha as many of you know are pioneers (along with the late Ana Lugão Rios) in […]


A New “Slavery” Museum in the United States ?

In a famous interview of 1989, Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison pointed out that her book Beloved (1987) was a site of memory of slavery as sites of the slave trade like New York City and Charleston were not at all highlighted in the landscape of the United States. Since 1989, this situation dramatically changed. […]