We invite CHS members to join us for a brown bag lunch talk with Jonathan Lande, New England Regional Fellowship Consortium Fellow and Brown Ph.D. Candidate studying African American history, the U.S. Civil War, and American legal and constitutional history.
His brown bag talk will ask why did thousands of black soldiers desert from the Union Army and mutiny? One possibility is that freed slaves found life in the army little better than life as a slave and sought freedom from both. Military service was just one step in the emancipation process. Moving away from triumphalist narratives, my project, “Disciplining Freedom,” offers a new interpretation of emancipation within the Union army. Lande recalibrates military service within a transatlantic context as a form of labor, not a patriotic endeavor, where former slaves went from laboring in cotton fields to laboring as Union soldiers. Many freedmen found soldiering no more liberating because of stringent army discipline exacerbated by anti-black racism. As a result of what they understood as reenslavement, thousands of former slaves rebelled, many with the help of their wives, yet defined as criminals under military law, the men were tried as deserters and mutineers. Their travails reveal that emancipation was not merely legal-status change; rather, emancipation was a transition from one forced labor regime to another that freedmen resisted yet failed to overcome. Lande will be reviewing the African American and Civil War collections at the CHS to further his research.
We will provide coffee and dessert, feel free to bring your brown bag lunch to enjoy during the talk. Please RSVP by May 25 and indicate the program name and date by calling (860) 236-5621 x238 or emailing [email protected]