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Herb - social history for every classroom

menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Theme > Slavery and Abolition (x)
  • Historical Eras > Colonization and Settlement (1621-1750) (x)

We found 19 items that match your search

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 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 [...]

New Amsterdam Grants "Half Freedom" to Slaves

In the 1640s, a group of enslaved Africans petitioned the Dutch West India Company for their freedom. The company's director-general, William Kieft, agreed to grant them "half freedom" (their children were not free and they owed an annual payment to [...]

Making Sense of Evidence: The African Burial Ground

The reports on the archeology, history, and skeletal remains of the African Burial Grounds present a more complex picture of 18th-century colonial New York than has been presented in textbooks. The reports also leave many questions unanswered, [...]

An 18th Century Bill of Sale for a Slave and Her Child

This is a transcription of a bill of sale for a slave woman and her child that took place on Long Island in 1716. In the transaction, a woman named Francis and her two-year-old daughter Hannah are sold by William Willis of Hempstead to David Seaman [...]

Colonial Virginia Laws on Slavery and Servitude

From the earliest days of the Virginia colony, laws governing the ownership of slaves were put in place to define the legal status of slaves and their masters and regulate interactions between them. In this series of laws dating from 1639 to 1705, [...]

Slave Laws in British Colonial New York, 1664—1731

As the population of enslaved Africans grew, colonial elites in New York passed laws to restrict the activities and movements of black residents. These laws were similar to laws passed in Virginia and Maryland, indicating that white fears of slave [...]

An Indentured Servant Testifies About the Existence of a Slave Conspiracy in New York

In 1741, a series of fires broke out in Manhattan, the most serious of which was within the walls of the governor's home in Fort George. After a slave was seen fleeing the site of one of the fires, rumors of a "Negro conspiracy" soon swept the city [...]

Many Passages: The Voyage of the Slave Ship Brookes

In this activity, students use facts and make inferences to create narratives about the journey of the slave ship Brookes. Students work in groups to create narratives from one of three different perspectives: Captain, Sailor, or Captive.

Slave Advertisements in Colonial New York

As in the southern colonies, New York newspapers were filled with slave advertisements that provide many details about the life and labor of enslaved New Yorkers. Historian Jill Lepore calculates that 253 advertisements for runaway slaves and [...]