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Historian focuses on 'stolen childhoods'

Wilma King, Historian

Wilma King, Historian

\ALBANY -- Historian Wilma King will speak about children in slavery on Thursday in the fourth monthly installment of the Albany Civil Rights Institute's Community Night.

King's presentation on enslaved and free African American children is titled, "Chattel's Children in the North and South before the General Emancipation." Her book on children and slavery, "Stolen Childhood: Slave Youth in Nineteenth-Century America," was published by Indiana University Press and won two awards.

King, the Arvarh Strickland Professor of History at the University of Missouri, began her career at Hampton University before moving on to Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Michigan State University. Her research has focused on African-American women and children, free and enslaved, in 19th century America. She has published numerous books and articles, the most recent of which is "The Essence of Liberty: Free African American Women before Emancipation" (University of Missouri Press, 2006). She also has written books on slavery for young readers.

"When we think of slavery, we don't often think of the children," said institute Executive Director Lee W. Formwalt. "Young people have played a vital role in the African-American freedom struggle over the years."

Formwalt noted that slave children joined their parents in resisting slavery by running away and resisted the rules of Jim Crow when they were implemented throughout the South after Reconstruction. And, he said, it was students who formed the shock troops -- the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) -- of the modern civil rights movement.

The Community Night event starts at 7:30 p.m. at the institute, 326 Whitney Ave. There is no admission fee.

A book signing by King will follow her presentation. Copies of "Stolen Childhood: Slave Youth in Nineteenth-Century America" are available for $18 (tax included) in the institute's gift shop.

The June 24 Monthly Community Night will feature a presentation by Khalil Muhammad on his book just published by Harvard University Press, "The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America." Copies of his book are also available in the institute's gift shop.

Hilton Garden Inn Albany and Sam's Club are the sponsors of ACRI Monthly Community Nights. For information, contact Formwalt at (229) 432-1698 or e-mail lee@acrmm.org.