Blog Post 2

In Chapter 2, we read about Rhode Island had passed an abolition act to free all slaves born after March 1,1784.  Rhode Island still had active shippers and merchants in the transatlantic slave trade, and had shippers embark 25,000 more captives on the middle passage (page 26).  I do have a few questions, my main question though, what did the abolition act say in terms of bringing enslaved people from overseas?  I could also ask the same for other states along the east coast.  In addition, how were they able to get away with so many more enslaved people?  What was the reason Rhode Island shippers specifically needed more?  Where did the ships travel?  Were they independent merchants and shippers or were they a part of a larger group?  

Sources I would look for would be those that end in ‘.gov’ and ‘.edu’ and maybe ‘.org’.  I would try school databases and do an advanced search with key terms, as well as for google advanced search. I could try to find scholarly articles from the databases. Usually the hardest part, for me at least, is finding the resources because the key terms are not good enough for what I need.  So more than likely, it will reframe my questions or completely change them.  However, I would start with, “Rhode Island abolition act 1784”, and see what reoccurring terms/themes show up.  Then use them for my next search for primary sources.  At first, I would get general information and work my way into more specific details. 

I am not sure about what resources I would want to access that are not digitized.  Once I do the initial search, maybe I can get a better idea.  Are we talking about different mediums that cannot be digitized or materials that have not been found?  

Next steps would be to keep track of everything I am searching.  For example, I like to create a separate document of all the websites, primary sources, and key terms that have worked well and did not work well.  Also, I can write bullet points of useful information for my topic and maybe even copy over some quotes from the sources I really liked.  I will then try to form my research/essay around this information.

One thought on “Blog Post 2

  1. I really like your study of the Rhode Island abolition act and its ramifications on the institution of slavery writ large. As Schermerhorn often notes in the book, these small steps attacked the institution, but totally dismantling slavery was a slow and gradual process. It is common to see states “abolish slavery” but still maintain their ports and activity in the national and global trade. Rhode Island was probably a hotspot as a port on the Atlantic seaboard, so this makes sense. Using reliable websites to find more information is a great start. There might be challenges in finding supporting source material related to the 1784 Act, especially online. Looking at the language of the Act itself is important, but what about the context and consequences? To answer your question about access, you might have to consider locating collections in physical archives that you could visit and view the non-digitized items in person. For example, Rhode Island has a state historical society that might be helpful. Otherwise, your roadmap to addressing this question is a great start!

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