More than 100 people attended the Enslaved: People of the Historic Slave Trade conference held March 8-9, 2019, at Michigan State University. 52 participants from more than 10 countries presented databases on slavery across all parts of the Atlantic World, including the Americas, Africa, and Europe. The conference was broadcast live on YouTube, and the different panels have been viewed a total of 1,318 times since the conference. The panels will remain available to stream for anyone unable to attend the conference. The conference featured vibrant debate and discussion about the organization of databases and metadata, the importance of creating and making databases available online, and the significant historical conclusions that can be drawn from these databases. More information on the panel specifics can be viewed here.
Many of the conference participants discussed the need for best practices and a shared platform for databases involving slavery and the slave trade, as well as the ability for these resources to be available for educators and the general public. Together, these resources can provide a more nuanced and global perspective on slavery and the slave trade, and connect descendant communities in the Americas with parts of Africa their ancestors came from. The variety of projects emphasized the importance of the forthcoming Enslaved Hub that will connect these databases from around the world.
On Friday, Enslaved conference panelists presented on slavery and memory in Brazil, slavery in Louisiana, new approaches to the study of slavery, and the material remains of slavery. Saturday’s panels highlighted research on free and liberated Africans, databases centered in Africa. Other panelists emphasized the importance of fugitive slave databases, perspectives on collaboratively building research data on slavery, narrative and biographical databases, and work on the Spanish, French, British, and Dutch Caribbean.
The Enslaved project team would like to thank many people for their hard work putting on the conference. The facilities staff of Snyder-Phillips Hall, Bill Sparrow, and the entire team at MATRIX ensured that the Enslaved conference ran smoothly and successfully.