Panel to discuss book that redefines the abolitionist movement

Five College book launch for The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition February 9, 4 – 6 p.m. Bernie Dallas Room, Goodell Hall, UMass Amherst

In celebration of Black History Month, a panel of historians from the Five College Consortium will discuss a new book by a University of Massachusetts professor that overturns long-held assumptions about the abolitionist movement. The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition by Manisha Sinha, published by Yale University Press, shows that rather than being composed of white, bourgeois, racially paternalistic reformers, abolitionism was a radical movement of women and men, black and white, slave and free who supported feminism, labor rights and utopian socialism.

John Stauffer, Harvard University professor and award-winning author of GIANTS: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, calls The Slave’s Cause “A groundbreaking, brilliant book. The Slave’s Cause should be required reading for every scholar in the humanities and social sciences who is concerned with the American condition.”

Relying on extensive archival research and newly discovered materials, The Slave’s Cause explores the influence on abolition of the Haitian Revolution and slave resistance. By viewing the impact of the movement within its international context, the book illustrates how the abolitionist vision linked the slave’s cause to the struggle to redefine American democracy and human rights around the world.

A Five College book launch scheduled for February 9 at UMass’ Goodell Hall from 4 to 6 p.m. will be inaugurated by Provost Katherine Newman and include the following panel of historians, who will discuss the book with the author:

Elizabeth Pryor, Smith College

Lynda Morgan, Mount Holyoke College

Susan Tracy, Hampshire College

Martha Saxton, Amherst College

Bruce Laurie, UMass Emeritus

It will be followed by a reception and book signing, with books available for purchase.