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Antislavery Poetry from San Francisco

Running man image from workshop poster

The Pacific Appeal was the leading African American newspaper on the West Coast during the early 1860s.  A newly-published set of eight antislavery poems from the journal's inaugural 1862 volume captures the sense of expectancy within the African American community for the imminent end of US slavery.  These poems include the work of James Madison Bell, a San Francisco plasterer, brickmason, and poet.  Read more... 
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About the Project

About the Antislavery Literature Project.

The Antislavery Literature Project was established in 2003 as a collaborative electronic publishing venture in a major but under-studied area of American literature. The Project is based in the Arizona State University’s English department and works in cooperation with the EServer, located at Iowa State University.

As an educational non-profit, the Project provides public access to the literature and history of the antislavery movement in the United States. It does so by research; production and annotation of electronic editions; and delivery of texts via the Internet. Much antislavery literature remains unavailable to all but a group of knowledgeable scholars or can be obtained only via expensive library editions. This project makes a corpus of antislavery literature available to the public for educational purposes, using non-proprietary publishing software.  Nearly all of the antislavery materials we publish have not been previously available freely online. To fulfill our teaching mission, we produce digital videos and teaching guides that interpret antislavery texts.

Through this work the Antislavery Literature Project seeks to achieve its goal of providing access to a body of literature crucial to understanding American history. These collections contribute to changing public understanding of nineteenth-century American literature.

The Project group currently includes:

  • Jackie Bacon, Project affiliate, is an independent scholar of slavery.
  • April Brannon, Project affiliate and formerly its research assistant, is Assistant Professor in the English Department, California State University-Fullerton.
  • Chouki El Hamel, Project affiliate, is Associate Professor in the History Department, Arizona State University. He is a scholar of North African slavery.
  • Holly Kent, Project affiliate, is Assistant Professor of History at University of Illinois - Springfield.  She studies antebellum women's antislavery fiction and poetry.
  • Sharon Kirsch, Project affiliate, holds a doctorate in English from State University of New York - Buffalo, and is a faculty associate at Arizona State University - West. She is a scholar of Stowe and other nineteenth-century American women antislavery writers.
  • Bennett Kravitz, Project affiliate, is a senior lecturer in English at the University of Haifa.
  • Joe Lockard, Project director, is Associate Professor in the English Department, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona. His current writing concerns censorship and slavery.
  • Stephen Marc, Project affiliate, is Professor of Photography at Arizona State University. He published Passage on the Underground Railroad (University Press of Mississippi, 2009).
  • Tim McCarthy, is Lecturer on History and Literature and at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.  He studies abolitionist history and protest culture.
  • Elizabeth McNeil, Project affiliate, holds a doctorate in American ethnic literatures and teaches English at Arizona State University. She edits and directs the Slave Narratives collection at the Project.
  • Alyce Nadine, Project designer, is an independent graphic artist.
  • Joel Olson (1967-2012), Project affiliate, was Associate Professor of Political Science at Northern Arizona University and wrote on abolitionist political rhetoric.
  • Geoffrey Sauer, Project advisor, is Associate Professor in the English Department, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
  • Michael Stancliff, Project affiliate, is Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Composition in the Languages, Cultures and History Department, Arizona State University - West. He is a scholar of abolitionist rhetoric.
  • Zoe Trodd, Project affiliate, is Professor and Chair of American Literature, Department of American and Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham.
  • Helen Yu, Project affiliate, teaches at the Law School of the Chinese University of Hong Kong; she was the Project's initial researcher on antislavery poetry.  

The Antislavery Literature Project emerges from the independent electronic publishing culture, which gave rise to projects like the EServer and Bad Subjects. As the project has developed, we have sought out scholars of slavery and American culture to advise us on digitization and suggest directions for this project. Several distinguished senior humanities scholars have agreed to assist us by joining an advisory group. These include:

  • Dean William Andrews, English, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
  • Prof. James Basker, English, Barnard College & Columbia University, and Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
  • Prof. Paul Lauter, English, Trinity College
  • Prof. Mason Lowance, English, University of Massachusets - Amherst
  • Prof. Lewis Perry, History, Saint Louis University
  • Prof. Marcus Rediker, History, University of Pittsburgh
  • Prof. Angelita Reyes, African American Studies and English, Arizona State University
  • Prof. John Stauffer, English, Harvard University
  • Prof. Kari Winter, American Studies, State University of New York - Buffalo

The Project functions largely through voluntary labor. If you are interested in affiliating with the Antislavery Literature Project and its work, please contact the Project director.