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Doing as They Can: Slave Life in the American South Viewer's Guide

This booklet is curriculum support for the American Social History Project's 30-minute documentary Doing as They Can: Slave Life in the American South. The viewer's guide contains background information on issues raised by the documentary as well [...]

Item Type: Viewer's Guide
A Historian Explains the Significance of the Fugitive Slave Act

Historian Eric Foner explains why the Fugitive Slave Act was such a divisive political act and a turning point in the sectional conflicts that had plagued American society during the antebellum era. Foner also describes the role of former slaves in [...]

Southern Newspapers Praise the Attack on Charles Sumner

On May 22, 1856 abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts gave a fiery speech denouncing pro-slavery activists in the territory of Kansas and their supporters in the United States Congress. The next day, while Sumner sat defenseless at [...]

Virginians Petition to Prevent the Emancipation of Slaves (with text supports)

The spirit of the American Revolution inspired some slaveholders to manumit, or free, their slaves. In 1782, Virginia passed a law that allowed slaveholders to set slaves free in their wills, where before manumission required a special act of the [...]

"Arrest of Stephen S. Hill"

As this newspaper announcement indicates, the status of slaves in California was unclear and fluid. Even though California was admitted as a free state to the Union in 1850, many southerners, claiming their stay was temporary, brought their slaves [...]

"Arrest of Stephen S. Hill" (with text supports)

As this newspaper announcement indicates, the status of slaves in California was unclear and fluid. Even though California was admitted as a free state to the Union in 1850, many southerners, claiming their stay was temporary, brought their slaves [...]

"Religion in Slavery"

Professor Greg Downs describes religious beliefs and practices among African and African-American slaves.

Item Type: Podcast
"House Slave vs. Field Slave"

Professor Greg Downs dispels the common misunderstandings about social tension between "house slaves" and "field slaves" and discusses the fluidity between different roles and jobs for enslaved people on large plantations.

Item Type: Podcast
"Slave Associations"

Historian Greg Downs describes how slave communities built associations to resist and survive the conditions of enslavement. His examples including slaves helping runaways, staking out space in outlying woods or other secluded areas, and building [...]

Item Type: Podcast
"Slave Patrols"

Historian Greg Downs describes the evolution of the slave patrol system in the American South. He also briefly describes how innovations created by slave patrols were the model for policing in later times.

Item Type: Podcast

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