“The Black Holocaust: Castles or Dungeons?”

Kesho Scott

What is meant by the term “black holocaust”? Professor Kesho Scott will discuss this topic in her three-session Bucket Course titled “The Black Holocaust: Castles or Dungeons?” beginning January 15, 2020. The course will explore the world-wide phenomenon of the 15th-19th century Trans-Atlantic Slave trade using a holocaust trope. 

The first class will define and compare holocaust terms, cite data regarding enslaved populations, characterize their capture stories, and identify sites where the trafficked populations were sent.  

Class two will detail slaves’ capture and containment. In particular, Scott will discuss the foundations of slavery, the impact of the practice on both slaves and colonists, as well as how enslaved populations were throughout the world.  

In the final session Scott will examine the impact of depopulation on West, Central and Southern African peoples who lost their sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, and grandparents over four hundred years of European practice of trafficking human beings.

Scott says she finds the topic meaningful because most people know little or nothing about the scope of the practice of slavery.

Scott, associate professor of sociology and American studies, has taught at Grinnell College for over 33 years. She is an internationally renowned Diversity Trainer/Consultant and an award-winning writer.  For 30 years, she has facilitated “unlearning ‘-isms’” throughout the United States and abroad.  Grounded in this extensive experience, Scott has developed an “affirmative duty” technique for facilitating unlearning racism workshops. She describes it as a method that “helps shift participants’ awareness, commitment and skill-set toward being actively and personally anti-racist and anti-sexist, rather than remaining merely passive observers.”

She notes that during the sessions she will invite audience participation in a variety of activities. Such participation is optional.

For persons interested in pursuing the topic she recommends the following sources:

The Black Holocaust for Beginners by S. E. Anderson. 


Bucket courses are open to all. Go to http:// www.grinnellcecbucketcourses.org/ to pre-register. Please note a change in the payment process. Payments are now charged by the month rather than the course. For January (which includes a previous session by Eric McIntyre as well as the upcoming three sessions by Professor Scott) the payment is $15. Financial assistance is available. Please check the appropriate box on the registration form. Registrants should arrive by 9:30 a.m. for check in.

Members of the sponsoring Community Education Council are UnityPoint Health-Grinnell Regional Medical Center, Grinnell College, Drake Community Library, Grinnell-Newburg School District, Grinnell Area Arts Council, Mayflower Community, and Iowa Valley Community College. Videos are available on the YouTube channel Grinnell Community Education Council; DVDs are available at Drake Community Library.

For more information contact Judy Hunter at judy586@gmail.com.


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