This March marks the bicentennial anniversary of the formal abolition of the Lowcountry slave trade. Regrettably, not a whole lot of celebrating seems to be going on (no dancing in the streets?). Encouragingly, CofC’s Program in the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World (CLAW) is doing its part to acclaim the anniversary; they’re hosting an almost week-long conference, Ending the International Slave Trade: A Bicentenary Inquiry. This conference seeks not only to celebrate the formal end of the trade but covers a cavalcade of related subjects including African culture in the Lowcountry, the growth of “scientific” racism, and the forced migration of enslaved Africans. CLAW’s academic extravaganza kicks off tonight with Requiem, a contemporary oratorio honoring the dead of the Middle Passage. Requiem promises to be quite a collaboration; poems by  Kwame Dawes, music by John Carpenter, and the art of Tom Feelings all merge to make a production which just about manifests middle-passage memory in the viewer. Other conference events promise to be as affecting, but any attention paid to this milestone is automatically applaudable. Fierce focus on this bicentennial will undoubtedly produce more fodder for future celebrations.

Requiem will be held at the Sottile Theatre at 8 p.m. tonight. Details about other conference events can be found at —Meaghan Strickland

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