Skip to main content

Slavery and Abolition

Web resources

African Origins: Portal to Africans Liberated from Transatlantic Slave Vessels (Emory University)

“African Origins contains information about the migration histories of Africans forcibly carried on slave ships into the Atlantic. Using the personal details of 91,491 Africans liberated by International Courts of Mixed Commission and British Vice Admiralty Courts, this resource makes possible new geographic, ethnic, and linguistic data on peoples captured in Africa and pulled into the slave trade.”

African Squadron Letters 

"Fifteen volumes of original correspondence, typed and bound, from the archives of the U.S. Navy Department at Washington, D.C. Letters range from 1819 to 1861 and cover all aspects of the African Squadron, including the settlement of Liberia, the repatriation of captured slaves, and efforts to suppress the international slave trade."

Africans in America

“America's journey through slavery is presented in four parts. For each era, you'll find a historical Narrative, a Resource Bank of images, documents, stories, biographies, and commentaries, and a Teacher's Guide for using the content of the Web site and television series in U.S. history courses.”

Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy: 1719-1820

“A database on the approximately 100,000 slaves who were brought to Louisiana in the 18th and 19th centuries, including African slave names, genders, ages, occupations, illnesses, family relationships, ethnicity, places of origin, prices paid by slave owners, and slave testimonials and emancipations. Created by Dr. Gwendolyn Hall, a professor emerita of history at Rutgers University.”

American Abolitionism

Developed by faculty members and graduate students at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, this project offers a number of resources for those interested in studying the American Abolitionist Movement.

The Antislavery Literature Project

The goal of the Antislavery Literature Project is to increase public access to a body of literature crucial to understanding African American experience, US and hemispheric histories of slavery, and early human rights philosophies. These multilingual collections contribute to an educational consciousness of the role of many antislavery writers in creating contemporary concepts of freedom.

The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: A Visual Record

“The hundreds of images in this collection have been selected from a wide range of sources, most of them dating from the period of slavery. This collection is envisioned as a tool and a resource that can be used by teachers, researchers, students, and the general public. A project of The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and The Digital Media Lab at the University of Virginia Library.”

The Bibliography of Slavery and World Slavery

“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.”

Digital Library on American Slavery

“The Digital Library on American Slavery offers data on race and slavery extracted from eighteenth and nineteenth-century documents and processed over a period of eighteen years. The Digital Library contains detailed information on about 150,000 individuals, including slaves, free people of color, and whites. These data have been painstakingly extracted from 2,975 legislative petitions and 14,512 county court petitions, and from a wide range of related documents, including wills, inventories, deeds, bills of sale, depositions, court proceedings, amended petitions, among others. Buried in these documents are the names and other data on roughly 80,000 individual slaves, 8,000 free people of color, and 62,000 whites, both slave owners and non-slave owners.”

Documenting the American South

Documenting the American South (DocSouth) is a digital publishing initiative that provides Internet access to texts, images and audio files related to southern history, literature, and culture. Currently DocSouth includes sixteen thematic collections of books, diaries, posters, artifacts, letters, oral history interviews, and songs.”

Ecclesiastical and Secular Sources for Slave Societies

“The ESSSS project, directed by Jane Landers and administered at Vanderbilt University, preserves and digitalizes endangered ecclesiastical and secular documents related to slavery in the Americas. This website provides information about the project and its history and tools that allow researchers to search the ESSSS database containing nearly 300,000 documents from three countries and several archives. While most of the documents contained here belong to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there are also some Cuban documents from the sixteenth century and Brazilian documents from the seventeenth.”

The Geography of Slavery in Virginia

“The Geography of Slavery project presents full transcriptions and images of all runaway and captured ads for slaves and servants placed in Virginia newspapers from 1736 to 1790, and is in the process of compiling advertisements well into the nineteenth century. In addition, the project offers a number of other documents related to slaves, servants, and slaveholders, including court records, other newspaper notices, slaveholder correspondence, and assorted literature about slavery and indentured servitude.”

The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, & Abolition

The Gilder Lehrman Center is dedicated to the investigation and dissemination of knowledge concerning all aspects of chattel slavery and its destruction.

“I Will Be Heard!”  Abolitionism in America

“Featuring rare books, manuscripts, letters, photographs, and other materials from Cornell University’s pre-eminent anti-slavery and Civil War collections.”

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

“The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center educates the public about the historic struggle to abolish human enslavement and secure freedom for all people. The Freedom Center teaches lessons of courage and cooperation from Underground Railroad history to promote collaborative learning, dialogue, and action in order to inspire today's freedom movements”

Post Family Papers Project

“The University of Rochester recently launched an online archive containing more than 2,000 letters, documents, newspaper, articles, photographs, and other materials relating to several progressive movements of the nineteenth century. The archives belonged to the Post family of Rochester who were active in the abolition movement and the women’s suffrage movement.  Included in the archives are letters to the Post family from Sojourner Truth, Harriet Jacobs, and Frederick Douglass.”

Samuel J. May Anti-Slavery Collection

“The Cornell University Library owns one of the richest collections of anti-slavery and Civil War materials in the world, thanks in large part to Cornell's first President, Andrew Dickson White, who developed an early interest in both fostering, and documenting the abolitionist movement and the Civil War.”

The Slave Route

“Ignorance or concealment of major historical events constitutes an obstacle to mutual understanding, reconciliation and cooperation among peoples. UNESCO has thus decided to break the silence surrounding the slave trade and slavery that have affected all continents and have caused the great upheavals that have shaped our modern societies.  The Slave Route Project, launched in Ouidah, Benin, in 1994.”

Yale Slavery and Abolition Portal

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