National Youth Summit - Abolition

February 11, 2013



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  • How do you define slavery? How does modern-day slavery compare with its 19th century counterparts?
  • What lessons can we learn from 19th century abolitionists for ending modern-day slavery?

On February 11, 2013, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History hosted the National Youth Summit on Abolition, a moderated panel discussion that reflected on the abolition movement of the 19th century and explored its lessons for ending modern-day slavery and human trafficking.  Ken Morris, great-great-great grandson of Frederick Douglass and President of the Frederick Douglas Family Foundation; Lois Brown, Professor of English at Wesleyan University; Ana Alarcon, a high school student activist; Ambassador Luis CdeBaca of the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons; and moderator Alison Stewart discussed the nature of slavery past and present and what young people can do to address the problem of human trafficking. The program featured excerpts from the AMERICAN EXPERIENCE documentary The Abolitionists, which weaves together the stories of five of the abolition movement’s leading figures: Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Angelina Grimke, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and John Brown.

Download the conversation kit for panelist biographies, discussion prompts and guiding questions for the webcast, and suggestions of ways to take action against modern-day slavery.