THE CONTRADICTED NATION: AUTOBIOGRAPHIES OF ENSLAVED PEOPLE AND ABOLITIONISM IN THE UNITED STATES (19TH CENTURY)

Rafael Domingos Oliveira About the author

Abstract

Based on autobiographical documents written by enslaved black women and men, from the end of the 18th and the 19th century, this paper seeks to show the relationships between abolitionists and the authors of the autobiographies. To this end, it focuses on abolitionist discourses, ideologies, and the political resignifications of the idea of​nation in a context of intense conflict, in which slavery, as an institution, occupied the epicenter of the debate. Our article also seeks to present the trajectories of authors of autobiographies, who are already well known in certain historiographical cultures, although they remain under reduced scrutiny by Brazilian historians. Most of these people acted strongly in the abolitionist movement, held congresses and lectures in the United States and Europe, and were involved in the parliamentary debates at the time. Thus, understanding their political and public trajectories is also a way of understanding how the intricate relations between enslaved, freedmen and white abolitionists competed and joined in the process of building the American nation, and the performance of enslaved people in the context of the breakdown of the slave system and their struggles for the consolidation of freedom condition.

Keywords:
Nation; slavery; autobiographies

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