The Forum: Descendent of slave trader to speak at BCC


PITTSFIELD - In advent of Black History Month, and in light of the recent success of the film, "12 Years a Slave," Berkshire Community College presents a forum with James DeWolf Perry, a descendant of the leading slave trader in U.S. history, and executive director of the Tracing Center on Histories and Legacies of Slavery.

The presentation takes place Jan. 30 at 12: 15 p. m. in the college's Koussevitzky Arts Center, room 111, at 1350 West St. It is free and open to the public.

DeWolf Perry was nominated for an Emmy award for his role as principal historical consultant for "Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North," a 2008 PBS documentary about the legacy of the northern U.S. role in slavery and the slave trade. DeWolf Perry also appears throughout the film, as a descendant of U.S. Sen. James DeWolf of Bristol, R.I., (1764-1837), the leading slave trader in U.S. history.

Since the film's premiere, DeWolf Perry has spoken across the nation and abroad about his family's, and the nation's, historic role in slavery, and has facilitated discussions about the legacy of slavery and race.

DeWolf Perry attended law school at Columbia University and has done graduate work at Harvard University, researching international institutions and the evolution of international norms, including the transatlantic slave trade and its abolition. He has worked on the Traces of the Trade project since 1999.

The Tracing Center's mission is to create greater awareness of the vast extent of complicity in slavery and the transatlantic slave trade of many New Englanders and others and to inspire acknowledgment, dialogue and active response to this history and its many legacies. Their programs seek to create safe spaces for discussion of the history and legacies of slavery, as well as issues of race, prejudice and privilege.

To learn more about BCC's Forum series, visit berkshirecc.eduor call (413) 236-1660. To learn more about the Tracing Center:


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