Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature: over 400,000 monthly users

Harriet Powers: Quilt Maker

“The dark day of May 19, 1780. The seven stars were seen 12 N. in the day. The cattle wall went to bed, chickens to roost and the trumpet was blown. The sun went off to a small spot and then to darkness.”

February 28, 2021 · 3 Comments

Nicole S Maskiell: Cicely was young, Black and enslaved – her death during an epidemic in 1714 has lessons that resonate in today’s pandemic

What may be the oldest surviving gravestone for a Black person in the Americas memorializes an enslaved teenager named Cicely.

December 3, 2020 · 5 Comments

Phillis Wheatley: To the Right Honorable William, Earl of Dartmouth

Hail, happy day, when, smiling like the morn,
Fair Freedom rose New-England to adorn

September 25, 2020 · Leave a comment

Video: The Atlantic Slave Trade

Slavery has occurred in many forms throughout the world, but the Atlantic slave trade — which forcibly brought more than 10 million Africans to the Americas — stands out for both its global scale and its lasting legacy.

August 14, 2020 · Leave a comment

Donna M. Cox: The power of a song in a strange land

“they were tones loud, long, and deep; they breathed the prayer and complaint of souls boiling over with the bitterest anguish. Every tone was a testimony against slavery, and a prayer to God for deliverance from chains.” — Frederick Douglass

February 16, 2020 · Leave a comment

Abby Zimet: This Is About Shining Resiliency

Here is a dazzling group of black students from Tulane University School of Medicine in front of former slave quarters at Louisiana’s Whitney Plantation museum – proof of improbable distances traveled and what Russell Ledet calls a heart-lifting “collective vision for the future.”

January 4, 2020 · Leave a comment

Rebecca Gordon: What’s Wrong With the Republicans?

The roots of much of the turmoil in the current Republican Party are centuries old. They go back, in fact, to the twin crimes that have helped shape this country from its very beginning: slavery and imperial expansion.

December 27, 2019 · Leave a comment

Christer Petley: How slaveholders in the Caribbean maintained control

It is no surprise that the whip is synonymous with New World slavery: its continual crack remained an audible threat to enslaved workers to keep at their work, reminding them … Continue reading

March 13, 2019 · Leave a comment

Tasha Williams: The Surprisingly Long History of Racial Oppression in Coffee Shops

Centuries before two Black men were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks, capitalists met at coffee shops to profit from the transatlantic slave trade.  An illustration of Edward Lloyd’s coffee house, … Continue reading

June 9, 2018 · Leave a comment

Charles Davidson: The Slaves of my Ancestors

Slaves Waiting for Sale by Eyre Crowe – Richmond, Virginia, 1853. . DICK, STEPHEN, CHARITY, AND LUCY were their given names — these beloved “Negroes.” They were the propertied slaves owned … Continue reading

April 29, 2018 · Leave a comment

Ursula K. Le Guin: On Power, Oppression and Freedom

My country came together in one revolution and was nearly broken by another. The first revolution was a protest against galling, stupid, but relatively mild social and economic exploitation. It … Continue reading

October 28, 2016 · 11 Comments

Chris Hedges: America’s Slave Empire

Three prisoners—Melvin Ray, James Pleasant and Robert Earl Council—who led work stoppages in Alabama prisons in January 2014 as part of the Free Alabama Movement have spent the last 18 … Continue reading

June 22, 2015 · Leave a comment

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