Freedom Writer

This image served as the background cover art for Dwight Lowell Dumond’s book. It is captioned, “The African slave trade — slaves taken from a dhow captured by H.M.S. ‘Undine.'” (Photo courtesy of the National Maritime Museum)


Heralded as “one of the most important studies ever made of the rise and fall of chattel slavery in the United States,” U-M historian Dwight Lowell Dumond’s progressive “Antislavery: The Crusade for Freedom in America” made waves in 1961 for speaking candidly about slavery. The work was a hefty 44 chapters and did not shy away from the facts nor the author’s opinion. Contemporary historians criticized him for taking a moral stance in his writing, and he received waves of hate mail that called him a communist, charged him with inciting violence, and echoed racist ideology. However, Dumond was undeterred and he continued writing and speaking about racial injustice until his death in 1967.

— Adapted from “Freedom Writer” by James Tobin, Michigan Today


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