Reconstructed Legacies: Black People, Freedom, and the United Kingdom


Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships


Social Sciences


The transatlantic slave trade terrorized and dismantled the lives African people. This reality is well documented in the British Caribbean and North America but ignored in the United Kingdom. In the eighteenth century, enslaved people experienced various forms of forced labor and are remembered as servants but not as enslaved people who were not free. This reality is critical to the national narrative of slavery and the persistence of racism in the world. This research challenges the national narrative of servitude in the United Kingdom to produce a social history of the enslaved. Using critical fabulation and archival ethnography, this project interrogates the geography of freedom and unfreedom and the complexities of agency in the lives of enslaved Africans. This book project recovers the mutilated histories of enslaved people in the United Kingdom in the eighteenth century and reconciles the sordid history of slavery and agency in the diaspora.