The election of Abraham Lincoln as President touched off a secession crisis in the South. In his new book, Showdown in Virginia, Bill Freehling (Virginia Foundation for the Humanities) focuses on turning points in Virginia’s months-long, bitter battle over whether to secede from the Union. Also: Historians estimate that of the nearly 5,000 pirates who terrorized America’s Atlantic coast in the early 1700s, twenty-five to thirty percent were of African descent, many of them freed slaves. Cassandra Newby-Alexander (Norfolk State University) argues these black pirates experienced more freedom on their outlaw ships than on ‘civilized’ dry land.
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