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As the French abolitionist movement gathered momentum alongside the Revolution, Parisians could have seen hundreds of theatrical performances on themes related to race and slavery. By contrast, the American stage grappled with the choice to perpetuate a slave system within a democracy. Some performances hinted at slavery’s cruelty, some depicted newly-freed black characters living happily alongside whites, and others proposed returning blacks to the continent as the solution for a dilemma Thomas Jefferson described as holding “a wolf by the ears.” This paper explores the black revolutionary figure on the U.S. and French stages during the last decade of the eighteenth century, as both nations struggled to put their principles of universal freedom into practice.
The Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar invites you to join the conversation. Seminars bring together a diverse group of scholars and interested members of the public to workshop a pre-circulated paper. Learn more.
Please note, this is an online event held on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with links to join the program.close