This year’s Clara M. Southworth Lecture features Brown University Provost Visiting Associate Professor in Africana Studies Reneé Ater, who will speak about her work on monuments and slavery.
The material remains of slave cabins dot the American landscape in the South and Middle Atlantic. Hiding in plain sight, slave cabins are reminders of the painful legacy of slavery in the United States including the presence of enslaved labor on colleges and university campuses. These simple architectural structures disrupt the narratives of “progress, enlightenment, and the unfettered pursuit of knowledge” that have come to symbolize our institutions of higher education. Through archival research and archaeology, educational institutions are revealing their historic entwinement with slavery. This lecture considers the efforts of two small colleges to memorialize the slave past on their campuses, using the built environment and natural landscape. I will examine the Slave Cabin at Sweet Briar College in Virginia and The Commemorative to Enslaved Peoples of Southern Maryland at St. Mary’s College of Maryland in order to tease out the differing institutional approaches and interpretative paths to deploying the slave cabin as a memorial device to the enslaved and to the land.
This in-person program is free and open to Colby College faculty, students, and staff.
This annual lecture is made possible by the Clara M. Southworth Lecture Fund, the Colby College Department of Art, and the Colby College Museum of Art.