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Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law

This HeinOnline collection brings together a multitude of essential legal materials on slavery in the United States and the English-speaking world.

Additional Resources

Anti-Slavery Collection

This collection from the Boston Public Library contains about 40,000 pieces of correspondence, broadsides, newspapers, pamphlets, books, and realia spanning from 1832 until after the American Civil War. A major component of the collection is  the digitized versions of and transcriptions to more than 12,000 letters, which document the thoughts, transactions, and activities of the abolitionist movement in Boston, Massachusetts, and throughout New England.

Bibliography of Slavery and World Slaving

The Bibliography of Slavery is a searchable database containing verified references (except as noted) to approximately 25,000 scholarly works in all academic disciplines and in all western European languages on slavery and slaving, worldwide and throughout human history, including modern times. It includes all known print materials published since 1900 in scholarly formats, as well as digital scholarly journals, recent unpublished presentations at academic conferences, professional historical sites, and major museum exhibitions and catalogs.

Citing Slavery Project

A project at Michigan State University, the Citing Slavery Project provides a database of slave cases and the modern cases that continue to cite them as precedent, with the hopes of encouraging the legal profession to confront its ethical limitations and its role in the law of slavery.

Enslaved: Peoples of the Historical Slave Trade

Part of Michigan State University, this project aims to build a system of tools that allows for the discoverability of records across multiple datasets to bring into focus the lives of the enslaved, focusing on their identification. Records examined focus on slavery from Africa across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, from the origins of transoceanic slavery through the emancipation generation.

Euresclav: The Slave Trade, Slavery Abolitions and their Legacies in European Histories and Identities

This French database aims at collecting all the international, national and local juridical texts, elaborated in Europe, Africa, and in the Americas from the XVth to the XXth century.

Famous Race Trials

Famous Trials, a project of Douglas O. Linder, professor at University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, presents essays and archival materials on notable race trials in history, including Dred Scott, John Brown, the Scottsboro Boys, Emmett Till, and Rodney King.

Freedom on the Move

This database from Cornell University collects the "runaway ads" placed by enslavers to try and locate fugitive slaves, as well as the ads posted by jailers describing people they had apprehended.

O Say Can You See: Early Washington, D.C., Law & Family

This site documents the challenge to slavery and the quest for freedom in early Washington, D.C., by collecting, digitizing, making accessible, and analyzing freedom suits filed between 1800 and 1862, as well as tracing the multi-generational family networks they reveal.

Revised Dred Scott Case Collection

A project of the Washington University Libraries, this collection presents a full-text, searchable repository of the Dred Scott case file as it was heard in the St. Louis Circuit Court.

Slavery, Law and Power

This digital collection brings together original documents to help to explain the long history of slavery and its connection to struggles over power in early America, tracing the rise of the slave trade along with the parallel struggles between monarchical power and early democratic institutions and ideals. A collaboration between the University of Maryland, the National Archives, and the American Society for Legal History.

Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database

Presenting maps, 3D renditions, time lapse video and more, this project allows users to analyze the slave trades and the dispersal of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic world.

Yale Slavery and Abolition Portal

This site is designed to help researchers and students find primary sources related to slavery, abolition, and resistance within Yale University’s many libraries and galleries.

African American Perspectives

Primarily composed of two collections, the African American Pamphlet Collection and the Daniel A.P. Murray Collection with a date range of 1822 through 1909, this collection gives a panoramic and eclectic review of African American history and culture. The 800+ titles include sermons, annual reports of organizations, biographies, slave narratives, poetry, legal documents, and more.

Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project

This collection contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves.  These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Project (FWP) of the Works Progress Administration, later renamed Work Projects Administration (WPA).

Elizabeth Cady Stanton Papers

The papers of suffragist, reformer, and feminist theorist Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) cover the years 1814 to 1946, with most of the material concentrated between 1840 and 1902. Consisting of approximately 1,000 items (4,164 images), the collection contains correspondence, speeches, articles, drafts of books, scrapbooks, and printed matter relating to Stanton and the woman's rights movement. Documented are her efforts on behalf of women's legal status and women's suffrage, the abolition of slavery, rights for African Americans following the Civil War, temperance, and other nineteenth-century social reform movements.

Omar Ibn Said Collection

This consists of 42 digitized documents in both English and Arabic, including an 1831 manuscript in Arabic on "The Life of Omar Ibn Said," a West African slave in America, which is the centerpiece of this unique collection of texts. Some of the manuscripts in this collection include texts in Arabic by another West African slave in Panama, and others from individuals located in West Africa.

Slaves and the Courts, 1740 to 1860

This collection consists of 105 library books and manuscripts, totaling approximately 8,700 pages from an assortment of trials and cases, reports, arguments, accounts, examinations of cases and decisions, proceedings, journals, a letter, and other works of historical importance. Most of the items date from the nineteenth century and include materials associated with the Dred Scott case and the abolitionist activities of John Brown, John Quincy Adams, and William Lloyd Garrison.

Susan B. Anthony Papers

This digitized version of approximately 500 items includes correspondence, diaries, a daybook, scrapbooks, speeches, and miscellaneous items from Susan B. Anthony.

Digital Library on American Slavery

A project of UNC Greensboro, the Digital Library on American Slavery is an expanding resource compiling various independent online collections focused upon race and slavery in the American South, made searchable through a single, simple interface, with a current focus on sources associated with North Carolina.

People Not Property - Slave Deeds of North Carolina

A collaborative endeavor between the UNCG University Libraries, North Carolina Division of Archives and Records, and North Carolina Registers of Deeds, this project collects slave deeds from North Carolina, the property deeds - bills of sale, deeds of trust, divisions of property - registered with county courts and registers of deeds that contain information about enslaved individuals.

St. Louis Freedom Suits

This project of the Washington University Libraries and the Missouri History Museum presents digitized freedom suits from the St Louis Circuit Court, cases where enslaved people sued for their freedom. Users are able to search court cases, city directories, freedom bonds, and more.

Virginia Untold: The African American Narrative

This project aims to provide greater accessibility to pre-1865 African American history and genealogy found in Virginian court records, state records, personal papers, business records, newspapers, special collections, books, journals, etc., that date back to the 1600's, while creating conversation and encouraging engagement around these records.

Dred Scott v. Sandford

This article from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, provides a detailed summary of the controversial US Supreme Court decision which held that the US Constitution does not allow for citizenship for Black people and declared the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional.

Fugitive Slave Law

This brief essay on Digital History, a project of the University of Houston designed for K-12 students, presents an overview of America's Fugitive Slave Law.

History of Slavery in America

This essay from Berkeley's Open Computing Facility presents a timeline of slavery in America, from the arrival of slaves at Jamestown in 1619 up to John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry in 1859.

Slavery in the United States

This article from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, provides a summary of slavery in the United States

1619 Project

A long-form journalism project of the New York Times, the 1619 Project looks at the long-term consequences of slavery throughout all aspects of American society. The 1619 Project is so named for one of its central arguments, that America's founding should be traced not to 1776, but 1619, when the first enslaved Africans arrived in the Virginia colony.

Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition

The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition is part of the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University. Since its founding in 1998, the Gilder Lehrman Center has been dedicated to the investigation and dissemination of knowledge concerning slavery and its legacies across all borders and all time, from the distant past through the present day. The Center fosters improved understandings of the role of slavery, anti-slavery, and the lasting harms of slavery in the functioning of the modern world. Through fellowships, workshops, public programs, and digital resources, the Gilder Lehrman Center supports scholarship, public history, and public education.

Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro

Hosted by PBS, a transcription of Frederick Douglass' famous speech delivered on July 5, 1852, addressing the Rochester Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society.

Slavery in the President's Neighborhood

This interactive timeline explores the stories of enslaved people living in the Potomac Valley, who were owned by former presidents, who were involved in the White House's construction, and who worked in the White House.

U.S. National Archives - Black History

A bibliography of resources at the National Archives on slavery, abolition and emancipation, Reconstruction, segregation and black migration, and the Civil Rights Movement.