Little scholarship exists on an anti-slavery influence within the Black Power movement. United through their call for armed violence and self-defense, 19th century abolitionists and Black Power advocates have a deeply entrenched lineage that is scarcely explored. Considering Bobby Seale, Chairman of the Black Panther Party, "dubbed the Party the continuation of Nat Turner, whom he called "the force that pushed forward with speed for freedom,'" a deeper exploration into such a hidden lineage needs to take place in order to evaluate the importance of an anti-slavery usable past embedded within the Black Power era. Therefore, my PhD project will seek to understand how Black Power advocates used the memory and legacy of abolitionists, aesthetically, ideologically and intellectually, in order to further their own goal of achieving black self-determination via revolutionary, violent self-defense protest. Whether it is Malcolm X drawing inspiration from Nat Turner in his autobiography, Stokley Carmichael citing Douglass in his 1967 Black Power manifesto, or Huey P. Newton quoting Douglass in an introduction to a chapter in his autobiography Revolutionary Suicide (1973), a usable anti-slavery activist legacy is rooted in the Black Power movement. Such roots need to be unveiled in order to further our understanding of strategies used when considering how to combat global slavery and human trafficking.
Black Power Movement; Civil Rights Movement; African American Visual Culture; the Hip Hop Generation; U.S. Slavery, Emancipation and Abolitionism
Professor Celeste-Marie Bernier
Professor Zoe Trodd
Primary Funding Source/s
AHRC-funded Anti-Slavery Usable Past Studentship
Research Institutes, Centres and/or Research Clusters Memberships
Race and Rights Culture at the University of Nottingham, since September 2014