Explore the commodification of slavery, the history of the "Made in China" label on manufactured goods, and the history of African Americans on corporate boards, as well as the importance of using role playing and historical reenactors in the classroom.

About This Issue

This issue of The American Historian features three essays on the history of capitalism. One article discusses the experiences of three free Black men who were captured by slave traders in the 1830s to show how enslavers used violent, coercive practices—both physically and in the form of a paper trail—to formally “commodify” their newly captured slaves. Another article discusses the history of the label “Made in China” on manufactured goods and argues that the phrase represents a paradox between the nation-state and globalization, a paradox that certain capitalist actors use to shift blame for low-wages and coercive business practices away from U.S. corporations and to an amorphous idea of “China.” The final article highlights the history of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives among corporate America to show how early African American members appointed to corporate boards used their positions to advance the interests of the Black community. The issue also contains an article on bringing historical reenactors in the K-12 classroom, and another piece on how to use historical role-play in the classroom.     

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