Volume 4, Issue 2, December 2018

Hannah Jeffery

Hannah Jeffery is a 3rd year Ph.D. student at the University of Nottingham. She completed a BA Hons in American Studies at the University of Nottingham and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and completed an MRes in American Studies at the University of Nottingham where she wrote on the cultural memorialisation of Fred Hampton. Funded by the AHRC, her thesis unpacks the intersections between art, radical black memory and space by examining why murals are an enduring and unique cultural form used throughout the Black Freedom Struggle, from the Harlem Renaissance to Black Power to #BlackLivesMatter. She is the creator of ‘Murals: Walls of Slavery, Walls of Freedom’ (www.antislavery.ac.uk/murals) – a constantly growing digital archive that brings together, for the first time, U.S. murals connected to themes of abolition, slavery, Black Power, black protest and resistance. She has written about murals of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, as well as contemporary slavery murals worldwide, and she currently has an exhibition of Frederick Douglass murals on display at the Boston Museum of African American History.

Dr. Hannah-Rose Murray

Dr. Hannah-Rose Murray received a Ph.D. from the Department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham and has been a postdoctoral fellow there since April 2018. Her research focuses on African American transatlantic journeys to Britain between the 1830s and the 1890s. Murray has created a website dedicated to their experiences and has mapped their speaking locations across Britain, showing how Black men and women travelled far and wide, from large towns to small fishing villages, to raise awareness of American slavery. She has written about Black performance, celebrity and networking strategies in Britain, and has organized numerous community events including talks, plays and exhibitions on both sides of the Atlantic. Murray’s maps and research can be viewed on her website: www.frederickdouglassinbritain.com.

 

Abstract

In 1967, the faces of black antislavery figures were woven into the fabric of the urban US environment to showcase radical black narratives and empower segregated black communities. Murals depicting the faces of Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Turner and Ida B. Wells lined the streets alongside visualizations of self-emancipated figures slashing chains and unshackling bodies. Although these 1960s murals visualized subversive antislavery narratives in the streets for the first time, the cultural form of black protest murals was not new. In this paper, we trace the visual lineage of antislavery protest from the nineteenth century panorama to the modern antislavery mural.