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A South Carolina Planter Endorses Plans for a Black Regiment

South Carolina planter and merchant, Henry Laurens was one of the richest men in colonial America. He amassed a fortune through buying and selling African slaves. Before the American Revolution, over 40% of Africans who survived transport to the [...]

A Free Black Woman Writes to Imprisoned John Brown

In October 1859, a militant white abolitionist named John Brown led a small band of black and white anti-slavery fighters in a bold assault on the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. Their goal was to capture a large store of weapons, [...]

Item Type: Diary/Letter
Colonial New York's Governor Reports on the 1712 Slave Revolt

In 1712, Manhattan's population was about 6,000 living in an area twenty blocks long by 10 blocks wide; 10-15% of those inhabitants were enslaved Africans. Within this small area, slaves lived with their masters and worked along side white servants [...]

A Plantation Mistress Decries a "Monstrous System"

Mary Boykin Chestnut was the wife of a wealthy South Carolina planter who kept a diary during the Civil War. Published long after the war, the diary included many insightful and pointed criticisms of slavery, such as this passage, in which she calls [...]

A Salem Resident Cautions New York on the Dangers of Hysteria

Fires were not uncommon in New York in the early 18th century. The city's ever-present fear of destruction by fire was heightened by the suspicion that the fires of 1741 were ignited by rebellious slaves. Arson was used by enslaved New Yorkers in [...]

Union Soldiers Condemn Slavery

Although the attitudes of many white Union soldiers toward slavery and emancipation ranged from indifference to outright racial hostility, others viewed the issue as central to their participation in the war. The following quotations, taken from [...]

L'embarquement des Negres (The Embarkment of Blacks)

This eighteenth-century French engraving depicts captive Africans being whipped and herded onto waiting slave ships in the background. The willing accomplices in eighteenth-century slave trade were often fellow Africans, especially those living in [...]

Item Type: Poster/Print
Boston Abolitionists Warn of Slave Catchers

In 1850, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act, which required police officers everywhere in the country to capture escaped slaves and return them to their owners. Anyone who was caught helping escaped slaves could also be arrested and face large [...]

Am I Not A Woman And A Sister?

This illustration from an abolitionist book was a variation on the original 1787 seal of the British Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. The original organization symbol, showing a supplicant male slave, was designed by the famous British [...]

A Woodcut Depicts Nat Turner's Rebellion

The event known as Nat Turner's Rebellion was the largest slave uprising in the antebellum South. Beginning in the early morning hours of August 21, 1831, Turner, a literate slave who claimed to be guided by religious visions, led a group of slaves [...]

Item Type: Poster/Print

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