Untold history of women-led slave revolts

Historian and author Dr. Rebecca Hall speaks with ABC News’ Linsey Davis about slave revolts led by women and why these stories remained largely unknown.
5:59 | 06/09/21

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Transcript for Untold history of women-led slave revolts
Story about black female warriors they were enslaved people who made their mark in history but were long overlooked doctor Rebecca hall and activist educator and herself the granddaughter of enslave people. Uncovers their legacy in her new book week the hidden history of women led slave revolt it's an illustrated history and also a personal memoir doctor hall it's a pleasure to speak with you tonight. Well it's an honor to be here thanks sir thanks for having me. So before we dive into your research lists the usual graphic structure of your book why did you choose comic strip artwork in order to tell this history. Yeah well the graphic. Novel medium is a very powerful. I was very little sorry I'm graphic memoirs. The fifth and you know upgrading traffic memoirs. There's something they continue in in this medium that can't be achieved didn't you know in just regular text or. Little and and film that their relationship between. There's a complex relationship between past and present in this book and in this medium is uniquely soon seem to. Some. Analysts talk more about these women warriors you finding your research that the higher number of women on a slave ship the greater the odds of the removal and that's very interesting how do you explain that and the role of women in the sleeve led revolts that you studied. Yes so I'm this. Finding what's actually done nobody. Historians. Who had worked on the Atlantic slave trade for decades and compiled a massive database of over 35000. Slave ship wages. Com. And it. Once they had that database they you know an aquarium and aimed at queried and found wherever books on one in ten ships what's surprised everyone because. We're both on slave ships standard be an eyewitness suicide. Suicide as an amendment when they ask themselves if you know query the database and ask what's the difference between the ships that had repulsed. Vs the sticks that couldn't have revolved the only thing that was statistically different look for a more women on the ship but more likely to hear revolves. And the historians to get this at the time sort of dismissed tests instead what it must be a fluke because we know that women were involved in this type of persistence. I I eat well and looked at the actual captain ship's logs. He I'm on these chefs and you know found. Women involved in revolt in the reason why is because you know once and once that a ship left the coast of West Africa. Women were brought opera are on deck and unchanged. They had greater mobility. And it's also where we are the weapons were capped. And you know this diocese. You know this is like a regulated business practice that's actually. How I'm yeah they did a slave trade was regulated and this is how people were instructed to operate. So the women were unfettered and therefore had more opportunity to revolted sounds like an and there are of course have been numerous books not slavery and resistance so why thinking of these women story stayed hidden for so long. Yeah that's a complex question. But I think I'm I think it's important for people to understand that history is always written in the context. Right there's there's a social and political contest and then histories also. Radio conversation and other historic wounds so you know the social and political context you know for a long time. There was no history written about sleep resistance at all in this country because. But historians writing it insisted that there were there was no resistance and that slavery was just fine. It's in order to uncover this history you begin your research in urban areas like New York seeing so often we hear about. The history of slavery in the south so jurors what made you decide to to focus on northern slavery and what you found. Well couple things I I I grew up in New York City and who also. I was focusing on the you know early British America there are no early early seventeen hundreds. And I also want to intervene in this idea that slavery was to sort of very regional deep south. Yeah antebellum gone with the wind plantation. Systems. And really set to illustrate that this is something that was you know throughout what would become the United States. And that slavery was also a very much of an urban phenomenon. And it's so important to get to highlight the role of of slavery in New York City because it was Rick Foreman at all in the creation of the Sydney com. And you know it's it's. Ace creation of that space asked me. I'm did you know financial capital the United States but aren't you know perhaps perhaps of the world's. So yeah. And lastly as a historian and the granddaughter of enslave people what lasting impact to your hope that your readers and and that of your book we'll we'll take away and also the historical record. Yeah well I mean what I really hope. That. This country that we start to become able to come to terms what the legacy of slavery. Com and and I try to address that in my book. I am I want people to be able to you. Who understand. More about institution understand. How. People that sort. Spot and resistant slavery every step of the way. And for us to understand and engaged with some kind of process of a Washington reconciliation about the legacy of slavery in its impacts. On us mom today. Doctor Rebecca Hall we thank you so much weight can they hidden history of women went slave revolts is available wherever books are sold.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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