Enslavement and the foundations of human resource development: Covert learning, consciousness raising, and resisting antiBlack organizational goals
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Extant historical writings focused on Human Resource Development have generally centered white perspectives and have failed to substantively grapple with the historical experiences of racially minoritized people, leaving the field without an adequate foundation from which to address recent calls for racial inclusivity. This paper begins the process of addressing these concerns by analyzing autobiographical writings of Fredrick Douglass, a formerly enslaved African American. We situate this examination in both the broader historiography of U.S. enslavement and relevant HRD theory regarding race, diversity, and Black experiences in the workplace. The purpose of this paper is to initiate a discussion on the relevance of the institution of U.S. slavery to the history of HRD; we argue that studying formally enslaved people offers valuable lessons about resisting dehumanization in contemporary workplaces.