Penn State Joins Efforts To Research Era of Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Penn State Joins Efforts To Research Era of Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

University Park, Pa.

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade — the forced migration of approximately 12 million people, and the death of many more in war and captivity, over the course of 400 years — changed the face of the world, creating the Western Hemisphere we know today with its legacy of racial problems. Six out of every seven persons who crossed the Atlantic to take up life in the Americas in the 300 years before the American Revolution were African slaves.

Penn State’s George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center is leading the university’s efforts as one of five institutions involved with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in a multinational collaboration devoted to research on and better teaching about the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

The project, “Breaking the Silence: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Education Project,” links more than 200 public schools in 21 countries around the Atlantic Rim to promote better teaching of the slave trade, abolition, African culture, the endurance of slavery and racism, and to foster the search for reconciliation around this chapter of American and world history.

“Tragic as is this narrative, the peopling of the Americas offers more than a story of cruelty and despair,” says the Richards Center Director William Blair, associate professor of history at Penn State. “It is a story of the first international campaign for human rights — a humanitarian movement that highlights the extraordinary acts of ordinary men and women of all ethnicities and creeds who shared a common commitment to freedom.”

The George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center is located in Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts. In collaboration with the Regional Humanities Center at Tulane University, New Orleans; the Gilder-Lehrman Centre at Yale University; the Low Country Atlantic World Program, College of Charleston, South Carolina; and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio; the Richards Center’s goal is to create the foundations for broadening the understanding of future generations of the history and impact of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

For more information about the UNESCO Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Education Project see .

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