My cousin Tom DeWolf has an essay up on his blog about race and health care. Tom is discussing health care reform this week, and this essay examines racial disparities in health care and health outcomes.

Tom reports that on average, white Americans are healthier and live longer than black Americans. They also receive considerably more health care, even when factors like income or health insurance are taken into account. Tom acknowledges that the causes are complicated, but he makes a powerful argument that when it comes to health and health care, race still matters in our society.

Check it out.

Inheriting the TradeRegular readers of this blog know that my distant cousin, Tom DeWolf, has written a book about our slave-trading ancestors, the D’Wolf family of Bristol, Rhode Island, and our journey to explore the legacy of their slave trading today.

Tom has now embarked on a “virtual book tour,” an innovative way to interact with readers and to expose others to the book, by traveling across the Internet. Denizens of the ‘net will have the chance to win a copy of Inheriting the Trade in paperback or .mp3 audio, as well as to chat with Tom and to read new author essays and interviews.

The first stop on the book tour runs through Monday, other stops begin on other web sites this week, and the full schedule of stops on the tour run for the next month. Check it out here.

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Paul Butler has an interview with Tom DeWolf today on Moody Radio’s Prime Time America with Greg Wheatley. The subject is Tom’s memoir, Inheriting the Trade: A Northern Family Confronts Its Legacy as the Largest Slave-Trading Dynasty in U.S. History, about our experiences retracing the route of our slave-trading ancestors.

You can listen to the interview on a local radio station or on Paul Butler’s blog.

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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White Privilege ConferenceSeveral of us from Traces of the Trade attended the White Privilege Conference in Springfield, Mass. over the past few days, where we offered a screening and discussion of the documentary and solicited feedback.

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Poster art for Traces of the Trade at SundanceI’ll be blogging from the Sundance Film Festival, Jan. 17 – 27, in connection with Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North, which has its world premiere in competition on Jan. 21.

Since I’m appearing in a documentary at Sundance, I’ll be focused on events and developments involving the film. So I don’t generally expect to be blogging about the other films being screened at the festival, nor about the undoubtedly interesting aspects of daily life in Park City, Utah during Sundance.

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As I’ve noted previously, this year marks the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the U.S. slave trade. Thomas Jefferson’s ban on the slave trade on U.S. ships, and to U.S. ports, took effect on January 1, 1808. And Britain’s own ban, which was enacted mere weeks after Jefferson signed the U.S. prohibition into law, took effect a few months earlier.

Despite the significance of the abolition of the trade—encouraging the movement to abolish slavery itself, restricting the growth of slavery in old and new territories in the U.S., affecting the balance of the U.S. Civil War, and promoting the development of international human rights norms—this historical milestone has been widely celebrated in the U.K., while receiving far less attention here in the U.S.

I’ll be attending one event next week which commemorates the bicentennial: a symposium on “Abolition and the Road to Freedom: the 200th Anniversary of the Slave Trade Act of 1808.” This conference will be held on January 10 at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. (The publication of Tom DeWolf’s book, Inheriting the Trade, has been timed to coincide with the bicentennial and the launch event will take place the evening before.)

There are other events, including workshops for teachers, planned this month. And there will occasionally be other conferences and assorted events throughout the year.

Today, January 1, 2008, marks the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the U.S. slave trade.

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A film student at NYU, Aislinn Dewey, has created a wonderful, moving three-minute animated short, entitled simply “Privilege,” based on the work of Peggy McIntosh on “white privilege.”

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The bicentennial of the U.S. abolition of the slave trade will be commemorated at a service of liberation at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City on Sunday, January 13.

Traces of the Trade, which is being released in conjunction with the bicentennial, will be represented at the service through resource materials prepared by the Diocese of New York, and Tom DeWolf, the author of Inheriting the Trade, will attend the service.

The service is being sponsored by the Episcopal dioceses of New York, Newark, Long Island, and New Jersey, as well as various Episcopal church offices and organizations.

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