UMD's Vincent Carretta, professor of English and 2009 Guggenhiem Fellow, joins the new organization "Historians Againist Slavery."

By Sam Petualla, Inside Higher Ed

After teaching the history of U.S. slavery for over 40 years at Macalester College, James Brewer Stewart has come to the conclusion that his profession is overlooking an important area of research: contemporary U.S. slavery.

So he established “Historians Against Slavery,” an organization that attempts to develop “abolitionism on our campuses and in our community.” Stewart is concerned that human trafficking and slavery are misunderstood issues worryingly absent from the national discourse. Historians can remedy that -- but have not, he says...

Stewart coordinates the work of Historians Against Slavery out of a small basement office at Macalester. So far, 240 historians have joined the organization, including Lonnie Bunch, director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian Institution; Vincent Carretta, a University of Maryland English professor and a 2009 Guggenheim Fellow; and David Brion Davis, the Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and a renowned authority on the history of slavery.

The first goal of the group is to change how slavery is taught in the academy.