January 29, 2011

Slavery As Immigration? Teleconference audio now Available

Thanks to all who joined us for our first Teleconference in the series 'Black Intersections on Migration'. Our first Teleconference was entitled, Slavery As Immigration based on the work of Rhonda McGee. 

You can listen to Rhonda McGee's presentation and teleconference discussion here:


Slavery in America was a crime against humanity, a foundational wrong without equal in American history.  In “Slavery as Immigration?,”  Professor Magee continues her career-long effort to understand the deep impact of the foundational wrong of slavery on American law and social policy.   A great-granddaughter of enslaved and segregated workers in the American South, Professor Magee seeks to open up a dialogue among African-American people about the aspects of the Black American experience of slavery and segregation that tell a particularly devastating kind of immigration story.

Her goal is not to minimize the significance of the Black experience as distinctive in American history – far from it.  Instead, her goal is to call boldly for national reflection on the elements of the Black American experience that provide a founding plank for longstanding American immigration law and policy, including the importation and deportation policy of racially-identified, socially isolated and politically marginalized people for work at the bottom of the economic system.

Indeed, Professor Magee argues that the forced migration, internal displacement, and denial of citizenship strategies essential to chattel slavery were important components of America’s original immigration and citizenship policy, with legacies impacting immigration and citizenship law and policy to the present day.  Further, she argues that the failure of Black Americans to understand the historical impact of slavery (and segregation) on immigration law and policy does more than constitute a gap in our understanding of the historical importance of slavery in America -- a gap we should address for the sake of our own enrichment.  More practically, it keeps Black Americans on the periphery of critical debates about increasingly important issues within contemporary American politics – a position we ignore at our political and social peril.

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