Meadow Dibble

Visiting Scholar, Brown University, Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice

A World in Your Library Speaker

Meadow Dibble is a Visiting Scholar at Brown University’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice. Originally from Cape Cod, she lived for six years on Senegal’s Cape Verde peninsula, where she co-founded and published a cultural magazine. Meadow received her PhD from Brown University’s Department of French Studies and taught at Colby College from 2005–08. Today, she is editor of The International Educator newspaper. In 2018, following a brutal awakening to the reality of her hometown’s deep investment in the business of slavery, she launched Atlantic Black Box, a public history initiative devoted to researching and reckoning with New England’s role in the slave trade. Meadow is currently producing a podcast on this subject with support from the Maine Humanities Council.

Presentations

  • The Diseased Ship: A Cautionary Tale About Our Nation’s Twin Plagues That Went Untold for Two Centuries

On August 1, 1819, a majestic Maine-built ship docked at Boston’s Long Wharf, completing a nearly year-long voyage to West Africa and the West Indies that only a few crew members were fortunate enough to survive. This dramatic story features a prominent Yankee sea captain, a tragedy on the high seas, a viral outbreak, a major political cover up, and a conspiracy of silence that has lasted two centuries surrounding New England’s involvement in the slave trade. Following these historical threads into the present day allows us to consider the ways in which our region’s repressed history of complicity with the business of slavery relates to our current national conversations about race, privilege, identity, and access to the “American dream.”

  • Hiding in Plain Sight: New England Complicity in the Global Slave Economy

New England has long repressed the memory of its involvement in the slave trade and the Atlantic World slave economy, just as it has concealed or failed to center the stories of the region’s free and enslaved Black and Indigenous populations. How could we have gotten the story so wrong for so long? This interactive presentation will contrast the cherished narrative of Northern exceptionalism with recent scholarship that reveals a long history of exploitation with which our communities have barely begun to reckon.