Nicholls to explore slavery in south Louisiana with exhibit, guest lecture series

THIBODAUX, La. — Ellender Memorial Library at Nicholls State University will take a deeper look at the domestic slave trade by hosting a traveling exhibit from the Historic New Orleans Collection and a guest lecture series with an emphasis on south Louisiana.

The Historic New Orleans Collection collaborated with the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities to produce “Purchased Lives: The American Slave Trade from 1808 to 1865” which will be on display at the library from Sept. 4 to Oct. 13. The exhibit is presented by Entergy Corporation, the National Park Service and the Kabacoff Family Foundation.

Dr. Ibrahima Seck, director of research at the St. John the Baptist-based Whitney Plantation, will hold a lecture, titled “A Journey Through Slavery at the Whitney Plantation” and discussion at the library from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 5.

A former indigo and sugar plantation, Whitney Plantation is now a public museum focused on paying homage to the people enslaved in Louisiana and across the South.

Dr. Seck will discuss the history of the Whitney Plantation in the wider context of the Atlantic slave trade and will touch many topics related to the cultural legacies of slavery in Louisiana and how those legacies contributed to shaping American culture.

Dr. Erin Greenwald, curator of Purchased Lives, will discuss the research behind the exhibit and the importance of coming face-to-face with the complex history of race and slavery in New Orleans. She will speak from 6 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 14.

Louisiana genealogist and historian, Jari Honora, who worked on the Georgetown Slavery Project and the PBS series, “Finding Your Roots,” will discuss methods of tracing enslaved ancestors and slave owners, and their descendants from 5 to 6 p.m. on Sept. 20.

Dr. Jeff Foret, professor of history and distinguished faculty research fellow at Lamar University, will discuss his research for his nonfiction book project from 12 to 1 p.m.. on Sept. 26. His book follows the story of Washington D.C. slave trader, William H. Williams, as he moved two dozen slaves from Virginia to Louisiana.

The final lecture will feature Meredith Melancon, a Louisiana historian, who will retrace the steps of the slave, Solomon Northup, as he moved from New Orleans to Rapides Parish to Avoyelles Parish from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 3.


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print