The University of Southern Mississippi’s Department of History partnered with the Center for the Study of the Gulf South (CSGS) to welcome Rosanne Adderley from Tulane University for its annual spring lecture Feb. 16.
Adderley presented her lecture “Shipwrecks, British Courts and Slave Emancipation in the Caribbean” on her research on the African slave trade on the Caribbean and the Gulf South. Adderley received her Bachelor of Arts from Yale University and her Masters and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Adderley, who has always been interested in black enslavement across borders, read parts of her research aloud to the audience. Adderley was able to keep the crowd’s attention by mixing humor with key facts about specific legal debates that arose when shipwrecks brought slaves ships into British territories. Though Adderley was able to engage the crowd with jokes, she made sure everyone understood the seriousness behind the slave ship controversies.
“Part of my argument is that there’s nothing minor in these confrontations,” she said.
Adderley was adamant that this subject which happened between 1830 – 1865 still deserves to be discussed amongst people today.
“It’s important especially in places like Mississippi with so much [slave] history,” Adderley said. “We don’t know everything, and places like this are a good opportunity to talk about these things, and broaden the discussion of slavery.”
Adderley used maps and other visuals throughout the lecture to illustrate different territories and paths described in her research.
Casey said there was a need for Adderley’s lecture for the University of Southern Mississippi. “Sometimes we stop thinking,” Casey said. “We need to realize there are things further south than the U.S South.”
Adderley ended the lecture by taking questions from the audience, who seemed quite engaged with Adderley and the topic.
The lecture lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes. CSGS plans to host more events and lectures later in the semester at the USM Gulf Coast campus. For more information on CSGS, visit its website at usm.edu/gulf-south.