21 May 2014

Digital Resource: American Missionary Association Annual Reports

One of the fun parts of this job is locating digital resources that express Beaufort District's long and storied history.

One such example was discovering the digital version of the American Missionary Association Annual Reports on the Internet Archive through a mention of the annual reports in the History Leaks blog.  The American Missionary Association is best known for its educational work among the newly emancipated slaves of the South.   Arguably the largest and most influential abolitionist organization of the nineteenth century, the American Missionary Association (AMA) issued annual reports on its achievements and activities for over a century covering their work throughout the world.

Here in Beaufort District, Rev. Mansfield French, Georgianna A. Warren and at least 86 others were among the teachers, superintendents, and principals supported by the AMA. For an introduction to the impact of these so-called "Gideonites" on our local history, read Willie Lee Rose's Rehearsal for Reconstruction: The Port Royal Experiment.  Look for call number 975.704 ROS in the local history sections at the branch libraries. You can find a list of online and library resources about the "Missionary Teachers to the Freedmen" on our bdcbcl Wordpress blog

  • The Gideonites began to arrive in our area in March 1862.  AMA Annual Reports for 1847 through 1869 are available here.
  • AMA Annual Reports for 1870 through 1891 are available here.
A little background about the AMA that you might find interesting: 
The AMA grew from the Amistad Defense Committee of 1839.  On June 28, 1839 the schooner Amistad left Havana, Cuba with 53 West Africans aboard and bound for nearby sugar plantations. The Africans revolted three days out and killed most of the crew.  The enslaved forced their Spanish owners to sail towards African but their owners zig-zagged the schooner for 63 days eventually running it aground on Long Island, New York where the Africans were considered property, pirates, and murderers. The trial was highly controversial, politicized, and significant in the course of American history.    

A few suggested titles in the Beaufort County Library about the Amistad are:

Marcus Rediker, The Amistad rebellion : an Atlantic odyssey of slavery and freedom 

Susan Dudley Gold, United States v. Amistad : slave ship mutiny
Walter Dean Myers, Amistad : a long road to freedom
Helen Kromer, Amistad : the slave uprising aboard the Spanish schooner
         The Amistad Research Center located at Tulane University provides excellent guidance to their holdings related to the American Missionary Association.

Heads up: The Beaufort County Library will be closed on Monday, May 26th for Memorial Day.

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