Oscar nominated film is inspiration for interview.
The leading academic authority from Preston’s UCLan in the emerging field of Black Atlantic Studies is due to make a national television appearance today (22 February).
Alan Rice, Professor in English and American Studies, from the School of Language, Literature and International Studies, has been interviewed by historian Dan Snow and the footage is due to be screened on BBC 1’s the One Show.
“Abraham Lincoln is very much in the media spotlight at moment thanks to Spielberg’s Oscar nominated film and so Dan wanted to investigate the famous president’s links with the North West of England,” said Professor Rice.
Alan’s book is called Creating Memorials, Building Identities: The Politics of Memory in the Black Atlantic.
It discusses the way Lancashire was badly affected by the North’s blockade of cotton goods to try to disable the South economically during the American Civil War; in fact a cotton famine was caused and over three fifths of the workforce in Lancashire lost their jobs.
There was immense hardship including deaths from starvation.
Professor Rice added: “Unemployment in Burnley affected 10,000 of the 13,000 operatives in the town. Despite these terrible conditions many of the workers in the North West refused to support the Slave-holding South and garnered tremendous praise from Lincoln.”
There was correspondence between Lincoln and workers who held a meeting in the Manchester Free Trade Hall in December 1862 and in the wake of the Emancipation Proclamation of early 1863 Lincoln sent a letter of solidarity to the workers thanking them for their sacrifice.
In February 1863 Lincoln sent a ship, the George Griswold, with thousands of barrels of flour, pork, bread, bacon and corn to alleviate the famine. In 1919 a statue was presented to Manchester to commemorate these momentous events. It now stands in central Manchester with a transcript of sections of the correspondence on the plinth.
Professor Rice teaches across a range of subjects for the literature and cultural team at UCLan. He has published widely in African American Studies, Transatlantic Cultural Studies and also in Ethnic Studies.
Story and picture with kind permission of University of Central Lancashire