The Unpaid Labor Project Thanks the Historians

National awareness of the vital contribution made by Unpaid Laborers will change America's mindset about race relations.
National awareness of the vital contribution made by Unpaid Laborers will change America's mindset about race relations.

With grateful appreciation the Unpaid Labor Project acknowledges the support and guidance provided by the academic community. We want to thank each and every one of the 47 PhD historians that have signed the Unpaid Labor Manifesto. Their work is the foundation of our work. We want to especially thank James Brewer Stewart, Peter Wood, Scott Hancock, and James W. Fraser for their unsolicited letters of endorsement. And we want to especially acknowledge Jim Stewart, Peter Wood and Rob Forbes. These have pressed in as friends, thought partners and confidants with invaluable advice and counsel.

Over 25 years ago Mathew Foggy, Jr. began to read history books about slavery. He began reading with a purpose. His purpose was to find answers about his community, his businesses, himself and his anger related to race. Said a different way he went in search of why it was that race has had such a profound affect on every area of his life. That search included visits to slave museums across the country and in West Africa. That search included meetings with prominent people in politics, business, and academia. But more and more it occurred in the pages of the books being written by the nation’s historians of the early American republic. That was his first acquaintance with many historians he counts as friends today.

The history would evolve as he searched. Slowly but surely a story began to emerge. It was the story of the impact of the slave on the nation between 1607 and 1865. It was a story unlike what he had ever seen or heard. It was the other side of the coin of the impact of the nation on the slave. It was the story of the indispensable contribution of the first 12 generations of Americans of African descent to America becoming the most successful nation in modern history. It was the story that would change his life for the better and motivate him to share it with others.

And so our thanks go out to the men and women that search out the past to inform the future. We are indebted to historians of the early American republic and other disciplines for making what we do possible. Your work has changed our thinking about our people, our nation, and ourselves. We are convinced that the history of Unpaid Labor Contribution changes everything and that it is a key to healing race relations in our country.