Loyola at a Glance
Honors Program sponsors historic slavery and freedom exhibit for NBA All-Star celebrations
February 14, 2014
As part of the National Basketball Retired Players Association All-Star celebrations, the Loyola University Honors Program is exhibiting historic documents relating to slavery and emancipation in the U.S. These historic documents, curated by University Honors Program Director Naomi Yavneh Klos, Ph.D., will be on display in the Legends Lounge at the Marriott New Orleans from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14 and Saturday, Feb. 15.
The Loyola Honors Program, with a mission to educate students to be men and women for and with others, was invited to display in the Legends Lounge to draw attention to Loyola’s partnership with Elevate—a program providing talented inner-city middle and high school basketball players with the academic and social, as well as athletic, skills they need to get into college and thrive there.
Loyola honors students act as tutors for the Elevate program, providing help with the ACT test and other subject areas. The tutoring takes place in Loyola’s award-winning J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library.
“We decided to bring the documents to highlight that education is a central part of the mission of Loyola, Elevate and also of the National Basketball Retired Players Association, which offers retired basketball players and their families a full range of education, health, finance and career transition benefits,” said Yavneh Klos, who also serves on the board of Elevate.
“Elevate and the National Basketball Retired Players Association are like bookends with the same goals,” said Sky Hyacinthe, executive director of Elevate. “We serve the basketball community, but the heart of the game is education.”
The documents Loyola will display during the NBA All-Star celebrations serve as real-life reminders of the history of slavery and are more than just pieces of paper. The folds in one 1810 slave emancipation document serve as evidence that the former slave, listed only as Sara, needed to carry that document on a daily basis to prove her right to live as a free woman, according to Yavneh Klos.
“Certainly our students and the public are familiar with the tragic history of slavery in this country, visualized most recently in the Oscar-nominated ‘12 Years a Slave,’” Yavneh Klos said. “But films, however powerful, are fictionalized interpretations that only tell part of the story. These original documents tell their own stories, providing palpable evidence of the lived experience of slavery.”
The 18th- to 20th- century documents on display include:
- A 1787 printing of the Northwest Ordinance, which prohibited slavery in the territory northwest of the Ohio River. This demonstrates that slavery was a vexed political issue nearly a century before the Civil War, according to Yavneh Klos.
- An 1865 printing of the U.S. Constitution that includes the newly ratified 13th Amendment, prohibiting slavery.
- A copy of the Acts and Resolutions of the Third Session of the 37th Congress (Dec. 1, 1862 - March 4, 1863), including the Emancipation Proclamation with the printed signature of Abraham Lincoln.
- The May 1787 American Museum Magazine printing of “The Constitution of the Pennsylvania Society, for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, and the Relief of Free Negroes, Unlawfully Held in Bondage” begun in 1774 and enlarged April 23, 1787. The document is signed in type by Benjamin Franklin.
- A New Orleans True Delta, pre-Civil War eight-page newspaper filled with slave and secession reports including an account of South Carolina’s secession and an editorial inquiring of Louisiana’s residents, “What will you do?”
- A hand-written deed of gift document inventorying the presentation to the author’s granddaughter of several pieces of “property,” including a “Negro girl,” a “Negro boy” and a “bay mare.” This makes starkly clear the legal position back then of human beings as property, according to Yavneh Klos.
- A manuscript slave emancipation document, signed in the Indiana territory in 1810, freeing a woman named Sara.
- A 1963 printing of “Letter from Birmingham City Jail,” signed, “With best wishes, Martin Luther King, Jr.”
For more information, please contact Yavneh Klos at 504-864-7330.
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