Click Here for Previous and Future Themes
The transition from slavery to freedom represents one of the major themes in the
history of the African Diaspora in the Americas. Under and against the rule of
various powers, Africans experienced emancipation during the course of the
nineteenth century. In Jamaica and Brazil, freedom came peaceably, but
bloodshed also accompanied slavery’s death. In the United States, the rebirth of
freedom resulted from what was at the time the world’s most destructive civil war,
a war in which liberated slaves and free Blacks played a vital role in determining
the victor and securing their own liberty. In Saint Domingue, the slaves, under
the leadership of Toussaint L’Ouverture, engaged in violent revolution and won
their freedom and independence, establishing Haiti, the world’s first Black
republic. Regardless of the path to freedom, African peoples in the New World
had to continue to struggle for liberation. Where ex-slaves formed the majority,
the quest for sovereignty, independence, and equality remained elusive or
hollow.  Elsewhere they rarely enjoyed equal citizenship and the untrammeled
right to pursue happiness.

ASALH dedicates its 2007 national theme to the struggles of peoples of African
descent to achieve freedom and equality in the Americas during the age of
emancipation. Over a half-century ago, the celebrated historian John Hope
Franklin, a leading light of ASALH, identified the struggle for slavery and freedom
as the central theme of African American history. We take up this theme to honor
him and to place before the nation and the world the historical importance of
slavery and freedom in the making of modern societies
in the Americas.
Founders of Black History Month
The 2007 Theme Products are available, click here.