Campus News

February 15, 2011

Report From: Emory Alumni Association

Voyages event presents Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database

Eric Rangus is director of communications for the Emory Alumni Association

On Tuesday, Feb. 22, the Emory community in Atlanta will have an exclusive opportunity to learn about a one-of-a-kind resource, the groundbreaking work that resulted in "Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database."

Developed by a team led by David Eltis, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of History, this work details a previously hidden history of nearly 35,000 voyages that carried captive Africans across the Atlantic.

The program, which takes place from 6:30-9 p.m. at The Carter Center, is presented by the Emory Alumni Association (EAA) in recognition of Black History Month.

The evening will feature President Jim Wagner, a reading by award-winning poet and Emory faculty member Kevin Young and a fascinating presentation by Eltis, who will guide participants on a journey through the research, construction, launch, reaction to, and implications of this landmark work.

In early January, Eltis co-wrote a piece on regarding the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Eltis is one of the world's foremost experts on the subject. Eltis and David Richardson, co-author of the CNN piece, also co-wrote the new book "Atlas of the Slave Trade," and the CNN column.

A Canadian citizen who was born in England, Eltis earned his PhD in the United States. His CV includes several book awards, and a variety of prestigious faculty positions—in addition to his chaired professorship at Emory, Eltis has taught at Harvard and Yale in the U.S. and at Oxford and Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

This is not the first time the EAA has presented Voyages. The EAA has sponsored hundreds (if not thousands) of events across the country and around the world over the past few years, but Voyages' maiden … voyage … in November 2009 was something special.

Maybe it was the sea of 250 guests in Washington, DC, surfing through the database on the computers scattered throughout.

Maybe it was the venue—the plush-yet-inviting Cannon House Office Building, which sits in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol.

Maybe it was the presence of a sitting member of Congress (the Emory district's own Rep. John Lewis, who delivered a welcome message).

Or maybe it was a combination of all those factors; regardless, the vibe at "Voyages: Washington, DC" was something that needed to live on, and there really is no better place to fire it up once again than Atlanta.

The venue is there (The Carter Center), so are the guests (you don't really listen to a Kevin Young reading; you experience it), and so is the Voyages database.

Participants will be able to explore the database on their own before and after the formal presentation. Staff from Emory Libraries will be on hand to assist and answer questions. It will be an evening to remember.

For more information and to register, visit

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