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This map identifies which states and territories of the United States allowed slavery and which did not in 1856, five years before the start of the Civil War. The slaveholding border states included Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, and [...]
"To the Right Honourable William, Earl of Dartmouth, His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for North America &c."
Phillis Wheatley, the first published African American poet, was also the second woman in colonial America to publish a book on any subject. Born in Gambia, where she was taken into slavery, Wheatley was sold to the Wheatleys, a prosperous Boston [...]
This letter was written by a group of freedmen to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Land (known as the Freedmen’s Bureau). The freedmen were from Edisto Island, South Carolina, an area that came under Union [...]
This short essay explains how historians came to focus not just on what slavery did to enslaved people, but what enslaved people did for themselves within the limits set by this brutal institution.
During the 1850s, hundreds of thousands of enslaved African Americans were sold by owners in the upper South (Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee) to owners in the lower South (Louisiana, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, [...]
In this activity students analyze visual and textual evidence about "contraband" enslaved African Americans during the Civil War era. They compare the roles of African Americans, the Union military, and the policies of the Republican party in [...]
Militant black and white abolitionists organized opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act. In 1859 Harriet Tubman, a former enslaved person and leader of the underground railroad, played a central role in rescuing Charles Nalle. Nalle, who had run away [...]
In this activity students read about slavery's effect on women from the perspectives of an enslaved woman and a plantation mistress. Then students create a dialogue between the two women.
From the earliest days of the Virginia colony, laws governing the ownership of enslaved people were put in place to define the legal status of enslaved people and their enslavers and regulate interactions between them. In this series of laws dating [...]