"Justice Sheer and Simple": Institutional Slavery at the Antebellum University of Alabama

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Farley, Maxwell J
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Middle Tennessee State University
This thesis endeavors to shed light on institutional slavery at the University of Alabama. Chapter one examines the historiographical threads which undergird the study of American slavery, particularly in the institutional context. Chapter two discusses slavery’s role in the foundations of the University of Alabama and surveys the fragmentary evidence of slavery at the University of Alabama. Chapter three looks at the University of Alabama as a case study of institutional slavery in the old Southwest with a focus on two key concepts - the first, a clear relationship between land, slavery, and institution, and the second, invested relationships. The discussion of these two characteristics of institutional slavery in the Old Southwest finds meaningful purchase in the context of recent literature on institutional slavery and provides evidence for the assessment of institutional slavery via regional comparison. This thesis will then conclude by briefly examining memory and commemoration at University of Alabama, closing with a discussion of the institution’s opportunities for intentional investment and restorative justice given the contemporary “Age of Apologies.”
American history, African American studies, Education history