This podcast, hosted by Kluge Center Distinguished Visiting Scholar Adam Rothman, explores the lives of three African Americans whose passages through the 19th-century are uniquely documented in the Library's manuscripts.
In Search of Adeline Henson
In the Library of Congress’s Manuscript Collections are two photographs of an African-American woman named Adeline Henson. In the first photograph she is a young woman, probably still enslaved, and in the second, taken in 1913, she is now elderly. According to a letter that accompanies the photographs, Henson had been purchased by George and Mary Price of Baltimore to keep her from being sold to Georgia, and she remained with the Prices as a devoted servant to her death. The 1861 bill of sale is included in the collection. This podcast goes in search of Adeline Henson and the elusive subject of 19th-century African American women’s history. Johns Hopkins University historian Martha Jones and Library of Congress Senior Curator of Photography Beverly Brannan are the guests on this episode.
Robert Pinn’s Left Hand
In 1866, Medal of Honor winner Robert Pinn, a sergeant in the 5th United States Colored Troops, submitted an autobiographical essay to a left-handed penmanship competition organized by a newspaper editor to promote the cause of disabled veterans. Like many other soldiers, Sergeant Pinn had lost the use of his right arm during the Civil War. The podcast will explore Sergeant Pinn's life story and the double discrimination he faced as both African American and disabled. The guests for this episode are Library of Congress Manuscript Division historian Michelle Krowl, and the Civil War historian Chandra Manning.
The Long Journey of Omar Ibn Said
This podcast will explore the remarkable story of an enslaved Muslim man named Omar ibn Said. His autobiography is one of the Library of Congress's newest acquisitions. Written in Arabic in 1831, it is one of the very few memoirs written by an African-born man in the Americas. The podcast will trace Said’s life journey and the afterlife of his autobiography. The guests for this episode are Mary-Jane Deeb, the Chief of the Library of Congress’s African and Middle Eastern Division, and the historian Sylviane Diouf.
This first episode of the African-American Passages series introduces the concept of the podcast, detailing the existence of documents related to Black Americans in Library collections. Rothman briefly previews the stories to be told in-depth in the later episodes.