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Thu Oct 22, 2020, 04:10 AM

Face to Face with America's Original Sin


BOOK CONFRONTS HISTORICAL, ETHICAL QUESTIONS POSED BY ZEALY DAGUERREOTYPES

To Make Their Own Way in the World: The Enduring Legacy of the Zealy Daguerreotypes book cover

Harvard Gazette October 20, 2020

By Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite, Harvard Staff Writer

In 1850 Harvard professor and biologist Louis Agassiz commissioned a study in scientific racism. The resulting images of Jem, Alfred, Fassena, Delia, Jack, Renty, and Drana, a group of people of African descent enslaved in South Carolina, are now known as the Zealy daguerreotypes and have become critical artifacts in the study of enslavement and racism in American history. The images were first discovered by the staff of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology in the mid-1970s.

A new book co-published by Aperture and Peabody Museum Press, “To Make Their Own Way in the World: The Enduring Legacy of the Zealy Daguerreotypes,” focuses on the challenges and possibilities of examining these images. The volume is edited by Molly Rogers, Deborah Willis, and Ilisa Barbash, and features articles by Harvard faculty including Henry Louis Gates Jr., Sarah Elizabeth Lewis, John Stauffer, and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, and a photography series by artist Carrie Mae Weems.

In “To Make Their Own Way in the World,” the writers engage with the historical, artistic, and ethical questions that surround the daguerreotypes and offer avenues for understanding the role of these images in revealing the legacy of slavery in the U.S.

“If we are to be ethical stewards of the collections, we must acknowledge and engage with the complex history of the Peabody and anthropology generally. This is especially true as we confront highly sensitive objects like the Zealy daguerreotypes, which bring to life this devastating history and its impact on seven enslaved men and women,” said Jane Pickering, William and Muriel Seabury Howells Director of the Peabody Museum. “As the current stewards of these images, we need to provide a platform to ensure this dialogue takes place, collaboratively and transparently.”

More:
https://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/news/in-news/face-face-americas-original-sin

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Judi Lynn Oct 22 OP
Solly Mack Oct 22 #1
Earthshine2 Oct 22 #2

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 04:15 AM

1. K&R

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 05:42 AM

2. I think these are the pictures to which the article refers.

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