UMPI recognizes Black History Month

17 years ago

    PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — In recognition of Black History Month, Dr. John Zaborney, professor of history, will give a public presentation on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center. He will discuss Slaves For Rent:  Slave Hiring in Virginia, 1760-1860.
     According to Zaborney, slave hiring, or renting, was practiced everywhere slavery existed throughout the Americas. In most regions characterized by urbanization or mixed agriculture, such as Virginia, slave hiring was pervasive. Slave hiring was an institutional variation which facilitated slavery’s adaptation to economic change and various settings, and it put slaves to work at a wide variety of occupations.
Slaves usually were hired out by the year, yet short-term, or daily, hiring out of slaves between neighbors, especially for seasonal activities, was common. Because many groups of white Virginians were involved with slave rental, and because many slaves were hired out within Virginia rather than sold out of the state to the Lower South, slave hiring edified both white solidarity and slavery in Virginia on the eve of the Civil War.
Zaborney will discuss the impact of this practice on both the slave and white Virginian societies. He will also discuss the significance of the practice for poor white Virginians who couldn’t afford slaves.
Zaborney did a tremendous amount of research on the topic during a sabbatical last spring. He is currently putting the finishing touches on a book manuscript. The University of Virginia Press invited Zaborney to submit the full manuscript in its entirety for possible publication.
Americans have recognized black history annually since 1926, first as Negro History Week and later as Black History Month. Black history had barely begun to be studied — or even documented — when the tradition originated. Although blacks have been in America at least as far back as colonial times, it was not until the 20th century that they gained a respectable presence in the history books.
For more information about Zaborney’s public presentation, call 768-9452.