Part 1: Antebellum Slavery and Freedom, 1528-1865, Race and Liberty

May 5, 2009

The American West has always symbolized both freedom and opportunity, a place where one’s past could be forgotten and where race, gender, ethnicity, or class were removed as barriers to individual success. Yet viewing western history through the eyes of African Americans renders a different history. Race mattered, even in the West. Ultimately the paradox of race and liberty could be found in the institution of slavery, which existed both legally and illegally. This lecture explores the contradiction between the carefully crafted image of freedom in the West and the reality of human bondage across much of the region.

To see more videos from the University of Washington visit

Quintard Taylor, Jr., Scott and Dorothy Bullitt Professor of American History, University of Washington
David Hodge, dean, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Washington