September 26, 2016

Wendy Wilson-Fall, “River Slaves and Ocean Mariners”


We can only try to imagine the importance that rivers in America had for captive Africans and their descendants. Rivers and creeks were often boundaries between plantations, sources of food from fishing, when allowed, and occasionally points of congregation. Rivers must have been important signifiers of an entire biography of dislocation and removal, but river ports also remained critical as nodes of communication between slaves of different communities and between them and the fortunate blacks who worked on ocean sloops. River docks and seaports were critical nodes of information in African American communication networks. This presentation talks about rivers in the African American experience and their importance as conduits of information.”