Racial Justice

Complicity in the Making of Race-Based Slavery:

From Roger Williams to the Cotton Kingdom


Dr. Christy Clark-Pujara

Sunday, January 10
2-3:30pm CST

Online ~ To register, click here

The history of race-based slavery in America reveals the complicity of its core institutions—including its Churches and most prominent ministers. Yet, the history of the making of race in America remains unacknowledged, leaving us with a bevy questions: Why does race matter? Why is there such tension, division and disparities among racial groups in the United States of America, especially among white and Black Americans? How and why did Blackness and slavery become synonymous? How and why did a nation founded upon liberty and freedom perpetuate human bondage? What are the legacies of race-based slavery in America? These are a few of the questions Dr. Christy Clark-Pujara will explore in her presentation. Opportunities for question and answer will follow the presentation.


Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ, Madison, WI

Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice

North Shore Baptist Church, Chicago, Illinois

Christy Clark-Pujara is an Associate Professor of History in the Department Afro-American Studies and Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; she is also the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Afro-American Studies. She received her B.A. in History and Social Science from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota and her M.A. and PhD in History from the University of Iowa—Iowa City. Her research focuses on the experiences of black people in British and French North America in the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries. She is particularly interested in retrieving the hidden and unexplored histories of African Americans in areas that historians have not sufficiently examined—small towns and cities in the North and Midwest. She contends that the full dimensions of the African American and American experience cannot be appreciated without reference to how black people managed their lives in places where they were few. An absence of a large black populace did not mean that ideas of blackness were not central to the social, political, and economic development of these places.

Her first book Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island (NYU Press, 2016), examines how the business of slavery—economic activity that was directly related to the maintenance of slaveholding in the Americas, specifically the buying and selling of people, food, and goods—shaped the experience of slavery, the process of emancipation, and the realities of black freedom in Rhode Island from the colonial period through the American Civil War. Her current book project, Black on the Midwestern Frontier: From Slavery to Suffrage in the Wisconsin Territory, 1725—1868, examines how the practice of race-based slavery, black settlement, and debates over abolition and black rights shaped white-black race relations in the Midwest. Clark-Pujara is the author of several journal articles, most recently “In Need of Care: African American Families Transform the Providence Association for the Benefit of Colored Orphans during the Final Collapse of Slavery, 1839-1846,” Journal of Family History (September 2019).

Clark-Pujara was recently awarded the UW-Madison Vilas Faculty Early Career Investigator Award and the UW-Madison Outstanding Woman of Color Award 2020, Outstanding Woman of Color in Education Award, and the Feminist Scholar’s Fellowship from the UW-Madison Center for Research on Gender and Women in 2019 and the Honored Instructor Award from University Housing in 2020.

First Baptist Church Statement on Racial Justice

We’ve seen the news of the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, KY, Tony McDade in Tallahassee, FL, Ahmaud Arbery in GA and countless others who have been victims of police brutality, white supremacy, and senseless acts of violence. We have seen the protests across the country demanding justice for these victims, their families, and Black people across the country and the globe. We have seen the effects of this pandemic disproportionately impact Black people and communities of color due to structural racism in our country and abroad.

In these times of grief, despair, and fear, we are reminded of our duties as Christians as Pastor Michael Newheart preached to us not too long ago: “what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8). We here at First Baptist want to dig into what it means to do these things in this moment that is exposing to all the deep and festering wounds of racial injustice in this country.

We recognize that our church has supported the mission of social justice for quite some time and celebrate that history and draw wisdom from our experiences, but we still have work to do. Racial inequity is still pervasive in our communities here in Dane County. We have seen police violence against Black people in this city too. What can we do to be a force of change in our own communities and around the world? What does it mean for us as Christians to commit to racial justice in this time and beyond? We are re-committing ourselves to this journey and recognize that we have work to do. We’re starting with educating ourselves on systemic racism and its impacts on our communities, so we can be part of the solution in dismantling these systems. We then plan to share with the public our individual commitments and collective commitments as a church to racial justice. We feel that sharing these commitments better holds us accountable and inspires others to join us in the journey.

(Adopted unanimously by the church membership on June 14, 2020)

Online Worship

ALL are Welcome!

First Baptist is a warm and welcoming community that strives to live the Christian faith with an open heart, an open mind, and an open spirit. We are not afraid to ask tough questions as we seek to be wise and intelligent Christians in the modern world. We freely embrace people of diverse backgrounds and experiences, welcoming them into our lives. We strive to faithfully engage the great issues of our day by reaching out into our world with God’s love, justice, and mercy. We  would love to have you share with us in our life together as we join in following Jesus Christ.