200th Anniversary of the Slave Trade Act of 1808

The Slave Trade Act of 1808, passed by Congress in March of 1807, became effective January 1, 1808. On January 10, 2008 the Center for the National Archives Experience held a day-long symposium to commemorate its 200th anniversary and raise awareness of the slave trade, its abolition, and its impact on United States history and culture.

Abolition and the Road to Freedom

David  Levering Lewis

Keynote Address
Pulitzer Prize–winning historian David Levering Lewis speaks on “Competing Agendas: Ending the Atlantic Slave Traffic.”

Ira Berlin

Global Scope of the Slave Trade and the Act of Abolition
This panel addresses the national and international reasons for abolition. Moderated by Howard Dodson, director, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; panelists include Joseph Inikori, professor of history, Rochester University; Ira Berlin (pictured), professor of history, University of Maryland; Sylviane Diouf, curator, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; Marika Sherwood, The Black and Asian Studies Association, England; and Lisa Crooms, professor of law, Howard University.

Bernice Reagon

Africans and the African Diaspora
This panel identifies and compares the status of African descendant communities in the United States and other American regions during the periods of enslavement and abolition. Moderated by Sheila Walker, executive director, Afriodiaspora, Inc.; panelists include Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, senior research fellow, Tulane University; Selwyn H. H. Carrington, professor of history, Howard University; Michael Gomez, professor of history, New York University; Michael Turner, professor of history, Hunter College, City University of New York; and historian and scholar Bernice Reagon (pictured).

Ali A. Mazrui

Contemporary Implications of the Abolition of the Slave Trade
This panel examines how the legacy of enslavement continues to affect contemporary American society. Moderated by James Early, director, Cultural Heritage Policy, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage; panelists include Ali A. Mazrui (pictured), director, Institute of Global Cultural Studies, Binghamton University; Georgia Dunston, professor and founding director, National Human Genome Center, Howard University; George Dalley, chief of staff, Office of Congressman Charles Rangel;Katrina Browne, film maker, Traces of the Trade; and Clarence Lusane, professor, School of International Service, American University.

Abolition and the Road to Freedom is presented by the Center for the National Archives Experience and the Foundation for the National Archives in partnership with the Bicentennial Committee for the abolition of the Slave Trade, the National Museum of African American History and Culture; Howard University; the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; and the National Archives Afro-American History Society.

The symposium was generously supported by the Foundation for the National Archives, the Ford Foundation, Howard University, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.