Yale Will Dedicate Center to Study the History of Slavery

Yale University will dedicate the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition on Monday, Nov. 16, at 3 p.m., with a ceremony at the Amistad Memorial in front of New Haven City Hall, 165 Church St.

The following free, public events celebrating the opening of the Center are planned for Sunday, Nov. 15, and Monday, Nov. 16.

On Sunday, Nov. 15, 3-4 p.m., a public reception at the New Haven Colony Historical Society, 114 Whitney Ave., will bring together leaders of several Amistad-related organizations, members of the community and staff of the Gilder Lehrman Center.

A panel discussion on Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed feature film, “Amistad,” will be held from 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall St., followed by a screening of the movie at 5:30 p.m. The screening is co-sponsored by the Yale Film Study Center.

On Monday, Nov. 16, 4-5:30 p.m., the Yale Center for International and Area Studies will host a reception in Luce Hall Common Room, 34 Hillhouse Ave. An inaugural lecture will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Luce Hall Auditorium. Howard Jones, chair of the history department at the University of Alabama and author of “Mutiny on the Amistad,” will present a talk titled “Cinque – A Slave Trader? Historians’ Use of Fiction to Perpetuate a Myth.” He will explore the origins and significance of the false notion that the leader of the Amistad captives became a slave trader upon his return to Africa.

The Gilder Lehrman Center (GLC), part of the Yale Center for International and Area Studies, came into existence with the financial and intellectual support of two Yale alumni, Richard Gilder (B.A. ‘54, J.D. ‘57) and Lewis E. Lehrman (B.A. ‘60). David Brion Davis, the Sterling Professor of History, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and scholar of slavery and abolition, will serve as the Center’s director. Offices will be at 80 Sachem St.

The GLC is designed to foster understanding of the role of slavery, slave resistance and abolition in the New World by bringing scholars together to study these areas, and by communicating through publications, educational outreach, programs and events. It will disseminate information about all aspects of the Atlantic slave trade, including the history of the Amistad revolt and New Haven’s part in the story.

One goal of the GLC is to convene international and interdisciplinary conferences. The first conference, scheduled for the fall of 1999, will compare internal slave trade in the American South, Brazil and the West Indies, and will explore the way abolitionists responded to and publicized these population movements. The GLC will also host visiting scholars, engage in teacher training and curriculum development, and administer the annual Frederick Douglass Book Prize. In addition, it will sponsor publications, lectures and research fellowships.

For more information, please contact Robert P. Forbes, executive coordinator, Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition at 432-3339 or by email to gilder.lehrman.center@yale.edu.

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Media Contact

Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325