- From the Editor
This year’s special issue focuses on “Slavery, Freedom, and Equality in Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic Region.” The contributions to this issue demonstrate the diverse and unifying themes of equality and freedom. These themes are featured in an examination of the slave trade in New Jersey and through an interpretation of early nineteenth century art. Lastly, the struggles of the 1960s are examined through the 1964 riots in Philadelphia.
In the first article, James Gigantino investigates the interstate slave trade in New Jersey. He focuses on Jacob Van Wickle who sought to take advantage of the new Gradual Abolition Law in New Jersey by selling dozens of New Jersey born slaves to the south before they reached the age of twenty five and, therefore, potential freedom. Gigantino maintains that Van Wickel “as the ringleader of the largest slave trading organization in the Garden State, he helped undermine the promise of abolition which had begun in New Jersey in 1804.”
Erika Schneider explores the meaning of nineteenth century artist James Goodwyn Clonney’s work Military Training. Schneider maintains that Clonney, in his efforts to become [End Page vii] known as a major artist of his time, tried to choose a topic that was typically American. In so doing, while working on the early sketches of his work, “Clonney changed key figures from Caucasian to African American—both to make the work more typically American and to exploit the popular humor of stereotypes.” Ironically his work was criticized at the time more for its depiction of drunken behavior than the unflattering depiction of African Americans.
Courtney Ann Lyons examines the 1964 Philadelphia race riot. More specifically she explores the divisions between Black Muslims and Black Christians within Philadelphia’s black community during the civil rights movement. These divisions became apparent in the 1964 riot and revealed “the complicated negotiations of religion and theology manifested in the riot, namely, ‘riot liturgy’ and ministerial response to the riot.” Lyon’s argues “that religion assumed a fundamental role in the expression of and response to the riot.” [End Page viii]