‘Struggles for Liberty’

Tracing the Body, Memory and History in Nineteenth-Century African American Writings and Visual Cultures


This interdisciplinary session will look at the letters, photographs, sculpture, and paintings written and created by enslaved and free Black authors, activists and artists living in the nineteenth century United States. They engaged in a lifelong war not only for physical but for psychological, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, imaginative and creative freedoms. As one self-emancipated revolutionary and writer, Sojourner Truth described it, “Now the war has begun!” Language, as all these writers, philosophers, painters, and photographs demonstrate, is a tool of liberation.