Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence (14 November at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis)

From its origins in the 1750s, the white-led American abolitionist movement adhered to principles of "moral suasion" and nonviolent resistance as both religious tenet and political strategy. But by the 1850s, the population of enslaved Americans had increased exponentially, and such legislative efforts as the Fugitive Slave Act and the Supreme Court's 1857 ruling in the Dred Scott case effectively voided any rights black Americans held as enslaved or free people. As conditions deteriorated for African Americans, black abolitionist leaders embraced violence as the only means of shocking Northerners out of their apathy and instigating an antislavery war.

Historian Kellie Carter Jackson explores the use of violence by Black abolitionists in the antebellum US - as a strategy of survival and solidarity between Black people, a forceful language in contrast to the half-measures of non-violent White abolitionists, and a model for oppressed people to win freedom from a system that denies their basic humanity.

Read more here.