Economic Impact of Slavery is Topic of National Conference at UC Santa Barbara

Scholars of African American studies from all over the country will converge at UC Santa Barbara May 2-4 for an important conference on the economic impact of slavery in the United States.

All sessions are free and open to the public.

Entitled "Legacy of Slavery: Unequal Exchange," the conference will bring together experts for discussions on the role of slavery in the economic and political history of the United States and beyond, and the "lingering effects of slavery in today's world," according to conference organizer Douglas Daniels, professor of black studies and history at UC Santa Barbara.

"It is estimated that from 12 million to 15 million Africans were brought as slaves to the New World between the 15th and 19th centuries, one of the greatest forced migrations in human history," Daniels said.

The conference, organized

by UCSB's Center for Black Studies,

is mandated by legislation authored by former California Senator Tom Hayden, and passed by the State Senate and House in 2000 calling on the University of California to sponsor a research conference to explore and identify issues concerning the economic legacy of slavery in the U.S (SB 1737, now part of the state's Education Code), and draft a research proposal that would facilitate further studies and analyses of the economic benefits of slavery that accrued to owners and agencies, including insurance companies, their subsidiaries and predecessors.

Among the topics to be addressed is the controversial issue of reparations for the descendants of slaves, and the question of how to introduce material about the history of slavery into the school curriculum.

The conference will end with an open forum in which members of the audience may participate.

The conference is being sponsored by the University of California, Office of the President; the UCSB offices of the Chancellor and the Executive Vice Chancellor, the Office of Research, the Affirmative Action Office, the Education Program for Culture Awareness, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs.

Additional information about the conference can be found on the Center for Black Studies web site at (

UCSB's Center for Black Studies is the only research center in the UC system devoted primarily to the study of people of African descent.

Its chief mission is to unearth the truths of life as experienced by millions of Africans, African Americans, and Caribbean Islanders, "a reality which remains buried under the misconceptions of public opinion and slanted historical depiction," Daniels said.

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