Historian James Basker (Barnard College, Columbia University) discusses his latest book, American Antislavery Writings: Colonial Beginnings to Emancipation, published in November 2012 by the Library of America. Basker, who is also the President of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, notes some of the unexpected individuals who raised their voices against slavery (including slave-owning Virginians such as Patrick Henry and Arthur Lee), and the usefulness of this volume in teaching history to children across all grade levels.
In sum, he argues, the book's selections demonstrate how profoundly the world has changed over four centuries. "In the 21st century, it is a universal assumption that every person's natural right is to freedom ... nowhere was that the assumption 400 years ago."
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