Student Fellow Research
An important component of the Mellon grant is funding for student involvement in research about the history of slavery, abolition, and punishment in the state of Connecticut. Twelve Fellows spent six weeks in the summer of 2022 researching these issues and going on field trips to important sites in the state, including Old Newgate Prison, Ivoryton, the Prudence Crandall house, and the Colt Armory. Some of the students will continue their work during the school year and will help orient new research fellows to the project.
Read research by the student Fellows below.
- Revisiting Spielberg’s AmistadThe legal case surrounding the vessel, La Amistad, has not been an event well-taught by American history textbooks, especially given its landmark importance in the global history of slavery. In history, the event unfolded as such: in June 1839, the Spanish vessel, La Amistad left Havana, Cuba with Captain Ramon Ferrer transporting illegally abducted Africans to work on sugar plantations. Mid-route on July first, the captives rose up, killed the captain and the cook, seized the ship, and entrusted the crew members Jose Ruiz and Pedro Montez to direct the vessel back to Africa.
- Not Enslaved but Also Not Free: Connecticut Courts and Free Black Citizenship, 1818–1865A look into the history of the political status of free Black people in Connecticut before the Civil War reveals the unique position held by the state in larger national conversations over the citizenship of free Black people. Historical analysis of the state’s history reveals that Connecticut occupies a conflicted, yet influential, space in the history of American racism, citizenship, and equal protection.