Over the past few years, the National Council on Public History (NCPH)’s annual meeting has given attention to the forthcoming 250th anniversary of the American Revolution. NCPH has worked with the National Park Service (NPS) to present a scholar’s roundtable with different annual themes. The roundtable at the 2023 meeting examined “The Rhetoric of Freedom.” This essay opens with an exploration of the theme. What follows is an introduction to the scholars who participated in the roundtable; a description of their suite of programming; and a summary of their findings. I close with a “best practices” case study of the Aiken-Rhett House, an urban plantation mansion in Charleston, South Carolina. The case study answers a reoccurring question that emerged from roundtable discussions: How do historians engage public(s) in narratives of freedom, bondage, and nation building?
The Rhetoric of Freedom: Remembering Slavery during the Semiquincentennial of the American Revolution
Sylvea Hollis, PhD is an Associate Professor of African History and African American History at Montgomery College, where she also teaches courses in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her current research and public humanities work explores the intersections between race, gender, sexuality, archives, and memory.
Sylvea Hollis; The Rhetoric of Freedom: Remembering Slavery during the Semiquincentennial of the American Revolution. The Public Historian 1 February 2024; 46 (1): 7–28. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2024.46.1.7
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