Niagara Falls separates the United States and Canada and in the 19th Century, Blacks employed international lines to pit the two nations against one another for the best possible outcomes. As Blacks from both countries crossed a fluid border marked by two-way movement and social collaboration, they were in awe of the Falls famously captured on canvas by Frederic Church in 1867. Against the backdrop of the picturesque Falls, Blacks cultivated a global and green outlook, developing the Niagara Movement which birthed the NAACP in the midst of Niagara’s wonders, whirlpools, and waves. During this virtual webinar, daniel j. broyld will examine how Niagara, a vitally important painting subject for Church, speaks to a larger transformative transnational environment with potent importance for Blacks in the 19th century and beyond.
Dann J. Broyld is an associate professor of African American History at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He earned his PhD in nineteenth-century United States and African Diaspora History at Howard University. His work focuses on the American–Canadian borderlands and issues of Black identity, migration, and transnational relations as well as oral history, material culture, and museum-community interactions. broyld was a 2017-18 Fulbright Canada scholar at Brock University and his book Borderland Blacks: Two Cities in the Niagara Region During the Final Decades of Slavery (2022) was recently published with the Louisiana State University Press.
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