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1808 Bicentennial Celebration

The Center for American Literary Studies and the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center present:

1808 Bicentennial Commemoration, October 23, 2008

This event recognizes the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the legal slavetrade in the United States. Our headlining event will be a lecture by Sylviane A. Diouf, author of Dreams of Africa in Alabama. We will also host a mini-marathon "Read-In" of documents and literature related to slavery and its legacy.

Thursday, October 23, 1:00-3:30pm, Steps of Pattee Library, Penn State Campus Mall

There will be a public mini-marathon Read-In of documents related to the slave trade. Members of the university and Centre County Communities will read 2-5 minute excerpts from the documents, and bring alive the literature of the slave trade to participants and passers-by at Penn State.

Readers include members of the university and Centre County Communities, including Penn State graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, and deans; State College High School students; a Schlow librarian; the mayor of State College; and Sue Paterno.

Thursday, October 23, 4:00pm, 207 Henderson South

"The Transatlantic Slave Trade: The Human Story," Sylviane A. Diouf,Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Diouf is the author of the award-winning Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America (Oxford University Press, 2007). The book is a detailed account of the lives of the young people from Benin and Nigeria who were on the last documented slave ship to the U.S. On March 2, 1807, Thomas Jefferson had signed the Act to abolish the international slave trade (effective January 1, 1808) but, as her lecture will show, it went on for another fifty-two years. The 110 children and adolescents who had been forced to board the Clotilda arrived in Mobile, Alabama in July 1860. Freed in 1865, they tried unsuccessfully to go back home and finally founded their own settlement, African Town, where their descendants still live today. The last survivor of the original group died in 1935.

Both events are free and open to the public.