This is new.

In my work, I frequently encounter push-back to the effect that talking about the history and legacy of slavery and race is counter-productive, because this history is now irrelevant and discussing it only encourages racial divisions and a mentality of victimh0od. A cursory glance at the facts shows this logic to be fatally flawed, but this view is nevertheless quite common.

To my knowledge, however, this is the first time that anyone has proclaimed that I, and what I do, are “sheer evil.”

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I can now share that three of us from Traces of the Trade—director Katrina Browne, Tulaine Marshall, and I, are scheduled to travel to Cuba next week for the visit of the Amistad.

We are scheduled to sail into Havana’s harbor on board the Amistad on March 25, in conjunction with the United Nations International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

We also expect to hold the Cuban premiere of the documentary, which was filmed in part on location in Cuba, in Havana on March 27.

Katrina and I have not been back to Cuba since filming Traces of the Trade, and we are eager to share the film with the Cuban people, as well as to engage in further historical research on the D’Wolf slave trade, continue the search for slave plantations owned by the D’Wolfs, and look for descendants of those enslaved by the D’Wolf family. We are also looking forward to reuniting with those who helped us make the film, including Cuban filmmaker Boris Crespo, who was our Cuban line producer.

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On Friday, I’ll be in Newport, R.I. to participate in a panel discussion on “The History of Slavery and the Slave Trade in Rhode Island.”

I’ll be speaking about the Rhode Island slave trade and the example of the D’Wolf family of Bristol, R.I., who were the nation’s leading slave traders. My fellow panelists will be Jim Campbell of Brown University, who will discuss what Brown has uncovered about its own connections to slavery; and Keith Stokes, of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce, who will talk about the lives of enslaved Rhode Islanders.

The panel will be held on Friday, June 6, at 4:00pm at the Colony House, Washington Square, Newport, R.I.

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