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Professor Greg Downs describes the pressures on family formation under slavery and the strategies that enslaved people employed to form and preserve families. He looks at what happened to families that broke up because of sale, westward migration, [...]
In this "Lesson in Looking" from the website Picturing U.S. History, historian Sarah L. Burns explains how to unpack antebellum depictions of slavery and enslaved people, including Eyre Crowe's 1862 painting The Slave Auction.
Every southern state passed laws, sometimes called slave codes, to restrict the activities of African Americans and to prevent slave rebellions. White lawmakers in slave-holding border states, such as Maryland and Kentucky, were particularly [...]
This map identifies which states and territories of the United States allowed slavery and which did not in 1860, on the eve of the Civil War. The slaveholding border states included Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware.
John Parker was born in Virginia in 1827, and was the son of a wealthy white man and an enslaved woman. He spent the first 18 years of his life as a slave and earned a reputation as a troublemaker for regularly trying to escape. In 1845, he [...]
In this book excerpt, historians John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger explain the difficulties faced by runaway slaves who attempted to escape to northern states or Canada. Franklin and Schweninger studied many primary source documents to reach [...]
Henry Bibb was born in Kentucky to a slave mother and her owner, Kentucky state senator James Bibb. His brothers and sisters were sold away when he was a child, and Bibb was also sold frequently—he lived in at least seven southern states. After [...]
Henry Bibb was born in Kentucky to a slave mother and her owner, Kentucky state senator James Bibb. His brothers and sisters were sold away when he was a child, and Bibb was also sold frequently—he lived in at least seven southern states. Bibb [...]