Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)


In Freedom Papers: An Atlantic Odyssey in the Age of Emancipation (Harvard Univesity Press, 2012), Rebecca J. Scott and Jean M. Hébrard trace the stories of the descendants of a woman who came to be called Rosalie, kidnapped in West Africa in the late 18th century and deported as a slave to the French colony of Sanit-Domingue-modern day Haiti.

Here, Professor Scott-who was named the university's Russel Lecturer for 2012, one of the school's highest honors-details the two cases and reaches some conclusions about these questions: What made someone a slave in the 19th century, when slavery was a recognized institution based on relations of property? And is it possible to accurately describe someone as a slave in the 20th and 21st centuries, when the possibility of such ownership of persons has been abolished by law?