Raising Freedom's Child: The Black Child and Visions of Freedom in Nineteenth-Century America


ACLS Fellowship Program



Named Award

ACLS Oscar Handlin Fellow named award


This research project will be an expansion of my dissertation: from a story about postbellum Louisiana to a one about re-imagining the American nation after slavery. It studies the transition from slavery to freedom by studying the figure of the black child from the perpectives of free blacks, former slaves, white northerners and southerners. Between 1850 and 1890, the black child became both muse and metaphor for Americans--a representative of the racial and economic future of the United States. Her life and representation reveal the hope and anxiety black freedom inspired. The project uses visual and written sources. The fellowship will be devoted to expanding the study geographically and chronologically into the 1890s, examining the black child in narratives of US imperialism.