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Voices of Freedom: Poets of the Abolitionist Movement

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Thursday, July 21, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1CV005
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$20 - Member
$25 - Non-Member
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Materials for this program

  1. Handout

After 1808, when the importation of enslaved people into the United States was outlawed, human trading did not end, it simply changed focus. As wheat began to replace cotton as the Mid-Atlantic region’s principal crop, fewer workers were needed on the plantations of Maryland and Virginia, and owners sold off enslaved people they considered “excess” to the Southern states, where a cotton boom created a strong market for them. 

By 1830, Washington, D.C. was one of two of the nation’s most important sites for the interstate slave trade, alongside Baltimore. In response, the abolitionist movement became particularly important in the region. Writers responded with an outpouring of poems, seen as a unique form of moral persuasion, on the subjects of slavery and abolition. For this reason, poems were almost always included in abolitionist lectures and church services.

Join poet and author Kim Roberts as she traces the abolitionist history of the region using the poetry of white women journalists, such as Grace Greenwood and Gail Hamilton; Black and white religious leaders including John Pierpont, John Sella Martin, and Henry McNeal Turner; and activists such as Charlotte Forten Grimké, Fanny Jackson Coppin, and Frederick Douglass.

Roberts’ book, By Broad Potomac’s Shore (University of Virginia Press) is available for purchase.

Recommended Program: If you are interested in this program, we recommend you consider registering for Naming a Secret: The Underground Railroad on Monday, July 25. Note: Naming a Secret is presented online using Zoom.

Book Sale Information

  • Purchase your copy of By Broad Potomac's Shore by Kim Roberts here.
  • SPECIAL NOTE: Politics and Prose is offering a 10% discount to Smithsonian Associates ticket-holders. To claim your discount, enter the code SPECIAL10 (no space between letters and numbers) in the “Coupon discount” section on Politics and Prose's check-out page.

Patron Information

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This online program is presented on Zoom.