Francis Barber: Samuel Johnson’s Jamaican friend

By Calvin Liu, Gale Ambassador at the University of Oxford
I am a second-year English student at University College, Oxford – and one of the Gale Ambassadors for Oxford University. I am a huge lover of everything Romantic and Modernist – from Wordsworth to Woolf. When I am not in the depths of an essay crisis, I spend my time collecting fountain pens and looking at old books. Born and raised in Hong Kong, I am still getting to grips with the English weather and am partial to punting picnics on a rare sunny day.

The figure of Dr Samuel Johnson has come to be seen as the canonised cliché of a certain type of stuffy Englishness. His very name evokes scenes from a Blackadder episode where an august but temperamental enlightenment gentleman, draped with a flamboyant powdered wig, raves to his friends in a coffee house about the sorry state of ‘demotic Anglo-Saxon’ as it stands in the modern age. Not to mention the lexicographical feat that is Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language, often touted as the grandsire of modern English dictionaries from the OED to Merriam-Webster – and bane to the lives of English Literature students ever since its publication! What is, however, less well-known is his remarkable friendship with Francis Barber, a Jamaican freedman who first arrived in rural Yorkshire as a child. Barber became a close companion to Johnson during a period of deep depression after the death of his wife and was named the executor and ‘residuary legatee’ (as James Boswell puts it in his 1791 Life of Samuel Johnson) of Johnson’s estate after his death (Gale platform p.226).

Read moreFrancis Barber: Samuel Johnson’s Jamaican friend

How can human trafficking be tackled in Britain?

By Tiria Barnes, Gale Student Ambassador at the University of Liverpool
I am currently a third year History student at the University of Liverpool, hoping to graduate with an extensive knowledge of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and good quality banter. When I’m not in the library plugging Gale’s amazing resources, I am usually in a hipster independent coffee shop sipping on a cheeky chai latte. Some of my passions include Jesus, street dance, and charity shops.

Despite slavery being outlawed in the nineteenth century, human trafficking – defined by the Tearfund as ‘the transporting or abduction of people for the purposes of exploitation, using coercion, fraud or deception’[1] – is still a prevalent problem in our world today. In 2015, it was estimated that the trafficking industry was worth 32 billion US dollars a year, which is equivalent to the GDP of Tanzania[2]. As the fastest growing business in the world, it has been suggested that every 30 seconds a child is trafficked[3]. I decided that it would be interesting to investigate human trafficking on a more local scale, and see how newspapers reported on Britain’s response to the problem. Using Gale Primary Sources, I was able to make some thought-provoking discoveries.

Read moreHow can human trafficking be tackled in Britain?

Newspaper reports on the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade

By Tiria Barnes, Gale Ambassador at the University of Liverpool
I am currently a third-year History student at the University of Liverpool, hoping to graduate with an extensive knowledge of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and good quality banter. When I’m not in the library plugging Gale’s amazing resources, I am usually in a hipster independent coffee shop sipping on a cheeky chai latte. Some of my passions include Jesus, street dance, and charity shops.

On the 25th of March 1807, the British Parliament passed the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act which prohibited the carrying of slaves in British ships. While it is important to note that this did not outlaw slavery itself, which came about in 1833 as a result of the Emancipation Act, 1807 was a significant step in the right direction. Two hundred years later, the UK commemorated the bicentenary of the act, and attempted to reflect on the brutality of slavery [1]. Using Gale Primary Sources, I thought it would be interesting to study how this was reported in the media, taking note of the ways in which newspapers depicted the actions taken by the UK as part of the commemoration.

Read moreNewspaper reports on the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade

Exploring perceptions of Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum using Gale Primary Sources

By Tiria Barnes
I am currently a third-year History student at the University of Liverpool, hoping to graduate with an extensive knowledge of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and good quality banter. When I’m not in the library plugging Gale’s amazing resources, I am usually in a hipster independent coffee shop sipping on a cheeky chai latte. Some of my passions include Jesus, street dance, and charity shops.

The International Slavery Museum, situated in Liverpool’s Albert Dock, explores the transatlantic slave trade and its permanent impact on our world. The museum opened in 2007, the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, and has welcomed more than 3.8 million visitors.[1] As suggested by the museum director, David Fleming, the museum does not claim to be a ‘neutral space’. Instead, it attempts to be an active voice in countering racism and promoting the equality of opportunities. The exhibit is also committed to expressing the bravery of the slaves, opposing the notion that they were merely victims.[2] I thought it would be interesting to explore articles written about the International Slavery Museum using Gale Primary Sources, to learn more about the different ways the museum has been perceived.

Read moreExploring perceptions of Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum using Gale Primary Sources

Race & Gender in the Carceral State

By Jen Manion
Jen Manion, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of History and Director of the LGBTQ Resource Center at Connecticut College. Manion is author of Liberty’s Prisoners: Carceral Culture in Early America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015) and co-editor of Taking Back the Academy: History of Activism, History as Activism (Routledge, 2004). Jen has also published essays in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Journal of the Early Republic, TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, and Radical History Review. 

Crime, Punishment, and Popular Culture, 1790-1920 is a trove of material for scholars and students interested in the history of gender, gender expression, and sexuality. Criminal accounts provide an illustrative window into the culture of the time by highlighting the lives, actions, and motives of those who crossed the line of so-called acceptable behavior. Women’s participation in illicit activities such as theft, robbery, assault, or murder were generally sensationalized in both trial and newspaper records, giving such accounts a sexual tinge no matter how seemingly mundane. The range of source material—from newspaper accounts to trial manuscripts to organizational records to sensational dime novels—allows readers to approach a singular topic from different perspectives. Historians can examine the treatment of people along lines of race, class, and gender, or chart changes in such regulations over time.

Read moreRace & Gender in the Carceral State

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons