On Thursday 12 October 2023 the RIAS and The Netherland-America Foundation in New York will organize a webinar “From Slavery to Freedom in the American South and Dutch Caribbean.” How did freedpeople in both societies experience these simultaneous transitions to freedom?
This year marks the 160th anniversary of both the Emancipation Proclamation in the United States — issued during the American Civil War and effective on 1 January 1863 — and the Emancipatiewet in the Netherlands, which formally abolished slavery in the Dutch Caribbean on 1 July 1863. In neither society were enslaved people freed at the stroke of a pen and in both societies emancipation initiated fierce contests about the meanings of freedom for formerly enslaved people. In the American South, slavery collapsed between 1863 and 1865 as a result of Union victory in the Civil War, and was followed by a 12-year transition period called “Reconstruction” — an era characterized by federal attempts to ensure full citizenship rights to freedpeople and violent resistance by white southerners to deny Black people those rights. In the Dutch Caribbean colony of Suriname, formal emancipation called for a 10-year transition period called “Staatstoezicht” — literally “state supervision” — during which freedpeople of working age were not only denied various rights and privileges related to mobility and the accumulation of property, but were indeed required to sign annual work contracts and continue laboring on plantations in the same districts in which they had been enslaved.
How did freedpeople in both societies experience these simultaneous transitions to freedom? This webinar will discuss this important topic with two prominent and award-winning historians: Manisha Sinha (University of Connecticut) and Coen van Galen (Radboud University Nijmegen). It will be moderated by the esteemed Aruban-American television journalist and board member of The NAF, Maureen Bunyan. The event will be broadcast simultaneously to both Dutch and American audiences.
The invitation can be downloaded here.
Date Thursday, 12 October 2023 at 18:00 hrs CEST (12:00 EST)
Location Online via Zoom: RIAS-NAF-webinar
Moderator Maureen Bunyan (television journalist and board member of The Netherland-America Foundation)
Panelists Manisha Sinha (University of Connecticut) and Coen van Galen (Radboud University Nijmegen)
To attend the webinar, please use this Zoom registration link.
We request that you turn off your computer microphone and webcam before joining the session.