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U.S. History: Enslavement


Digital Library on American Slavery


Letters from an Abolitionist

Studying John Brown? Abolition movement? 

Include these letters from Mrs Child to John Brown and others: 

Letter: Mrs Child


Correspondence between Lydia Maria Child and Gov. Wise and Mrs. Mason, of Virginia.


Abolitionist statements in the form of letters addressed to Governor Wise of Virginia on the occasion of John Brown's raid and arrest. Child criticizes Virginia's laws on race, and draws a rebuke from Wise. Included is a letter from John Brown to Child asking for financial help for his family, and an exchange of (hostile) letters between Child and a Virginia woman over the issues of Brown and slavery.

Created / Published

Boston : Published by the American Anti-Slavery Society, 1860.

Race and Slavery Petitions Project

Part of the Digital Library on American Slavery, this site centers on personal information of " detailed personal information about slaves, slaveholders, and free people of color." Information in the petitions can be accessed in three ways. To search the petitions by keyword, select geographic and date criteria then enter a search term or phrase. 


Data visualization - emancipation


This timeline is rich with primary source material from newspapers and official records. 

Database of records

This is a new database filled with birth, death, marriage and other records of enslaved peoples in the U.S.  While some of the stories here are not primary sources - rather, they are secondary tellings of events; they often link to primary sources.  Use this as a jumpstart to research and locating people in place. 

Database on Fugitives from American Slavery

From Cornell University, this is a database with the stories of resistance as told through ads for fugitives. Lessons utilize your students as Citizen Historians or work with the materials to create narratives that give life to these people and their stories. 

Freedman and Southern Society Project

From the University of Maryland's History Dept, there are many transcribed documents covering a wide variety of Reconstruction events and perspectives.