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African-American History Survey, 1400-1860

Digital Collections for Your Paper

These digital collections all have primary sources that focus on your class subject. As we will discuss in class, digital collections are arranged in a different way than paper collections but they still hold valuable information for how you connect your readings to your paper. 

Frederick Douglass Newspapers, 1847-1874- This collection from the Library of Congress includes the three iterations of papers that Frederick Douglass edited including The North Star based in Rochester, New York, Frederick Douglass' Paper, and New National Era. The two papers you want to focus on will be The North Star, which was published from 1847-1851, and Frederick Douglass' Paper, which was published from 1851 to 1860. 

The Colored Conventions Project- From the 1830s, African Americans gathered together at Colored Conventions to build organizations and agendas for a push to Civil Rights. 

African Americans and the End of Slavery in Massachusetts- While slavery is usually pictured occurring in the Southern states, slavery was active in Massachusetts until 1783 but it didn't necessarily end there. This collection may work as a great companion piece if your paper collection is the Phillis Wheatley book. 

Slave Voyages- This database supported by Rice University seeks to answer questions regarding the Slave Voyages that occurred when Africans were brought to the Caribbean and United States to become forced labor. The collection includes registers from slave ships, drawings and photographs as well as maps of the different routes that were taken. 

Slavery and the U.S. Supreme Court: The Amistad Case- This collections focuses on the monumental court case when a group of enslaved men took over the schooner La Amistad setting sail from Havana, Cuba and was on the Atlantic Ocean for two months before it was intercepted by the US Navy. These documents come from the landmark case that ensued. 

Voyage of the Slave Ship Sally, 1764-1765- The slave ship Sally left Rhode Island in 1764 to head to West Africa on a voyage to purchase enslaved people. This collection includes materials from the owners of the Slave Ship Sally and is broken down with a timeline as well as index of documents. 

Cotton Gin and the Expansion of Slavery- This collection displays the connection between Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin and how that pushed demand for more enslaved people to produce cotton from growing it to processing it. 

The Underground Railroad and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850- This primary source set showcases materials around the Underground Railroad, the network that was set up by abolitionists to get those seeking freedom to be relocated to free states. 

John Brown's Raid on Harper's Ferry from the Digital Public Library of America- In 1854, John Brown traveled to Kansas after the passing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and started a guerilla war against the pro-slavery faction in that state. This primary source set includes his address to the court, photographs of John Brown's tombstone, and tributes to Brown by abolitionists. 

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs- This primary source set showcases materials around Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl which was written by Harriet Jacobs, who was enslaved in Edenton, North Carolina, and covered the realities of slavery and her escape to freedom. 

Beloved by Toni Morrison from the Digital Library of America- This primary source set includes materials that focus on the story of Margaret Garner, whose true story inspired the novel Beloved by Toni Morrison. 

The Transatlantic Slave Trade from the Digital Public Library of America- This primary source set focuses on the Transatlantic Slave Trade that brought millions of enslaved Africans to America and the Caribbean. Some materials in this set include advertisements for slave auctions, abolition advertisements, and maps of the slave trade. 

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe from the Digital Public Library of America-The primary source collection focuses on the book titled Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Stowe was the daughter of Congregational minister Lyman Beecher and set out to write a book that protested slavery. This set include a broadside that announces the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act and reviews of the novel. 

The American Abolitionist Movement from the Digital Public Library of America- The American Abolitionist Movement was a movement that pushed for the end of slavery and included many prominent figures from Harriett Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, and Senator Charles Sumner. This collection may work for the digital portion of your paper if you are using the Sojourner Truth freedom narrative as your paper primary source. 

American Slavery Documents from Duke University Libraries- This collection from Duke University Libraries includes bills of sale, emancipations for enslaved people, and court documents regarding enslaved people. 

Digital Library on American Slavery- This database that comes from UNC Greensboro contains four subsets of documents: Race and Slavery Petitions, NC Runaway Slave Advertisements, People Not Property Documents, and materials about the Slave Trade Voyages. This database works for students who maybe interested in the impact of the Fugitive Slave Act with the Runaway Slave Advertisements or folks interested in how the law treated enslaved individuals. 

Frederick Douglass papers at the Library of Congress-Library of Congress holds the personal papers of Frederick Douglass including his diary, family papers, and financial papers. 

William A. Gladstone Collection of African American Photographs- This photographs collection that is housed at the Library of Congress showcases different photographs of African-American life from the Civil War to 1945. The majority of the photographs focuses on the Civil War era including a very iconic photograph of Sojourner Truth. 

William A. Gladstone Afro-American Military Collection- This collection spans the years of 1773 to 1987 and is another Library of Congress collection. While some of the collection goes beyond your time period, it does include interesting primary documents of note including military discharge papers, pension papers, and Confederate documents. 

Slaves and the Courts, 1740 to 1860- The Slaves and the Courts put legal documents at the forefront in this Library of Congress collection. Highlights of this collection include materials around the Dred Scott case, various pamphlets, and the Amistad Case. 

African-American Perspectives: Materials Selected from the Rare Book Collection-This rare book focused collection from the Library of Congress has a date range from 1822 to 1909.

Princeton and Slavery Project: Primary Sources- These materials come from Princeton University and their archives. A history professor discovered that much of the money the Southern Ivy used to build its campus came from families in the South who owned enslaved people. These documents show the role those families played in the insitution as well as how the Civil War played a role in enrollment. 

African-American Women Writers of the 19th Century- This New York Public Library resource contains transcribed books by African-American women writers of the 19th century. This source contains well-known titles such as Behind the Scenes by Elizabeth Keckley and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs along with lesser-known pieces. 

Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy- This resource showcases the history of the enslaved people of Louisiana. Many of the primary documents have already been transcribed. 

Plantation America from Duke University-This companion site to an exhibition from Duke University and contains various documents around plantation life in the Southern United States and the Carribbean. 

African-American Odyssey from the Library of Congress-While this Library of Congress digital exhibit covers the years from 1776 to the Civil Rights era of the 1960s, the materials focusing on Free Blacks in the Antebellum Period and Slavery have interesting materials that work for your course.

The Revised Dred Scott Case Collection from Washington University-This landmark case was brought forth by Dred Scott and his wife, Harriett, to file for their freedom in St. Louis Circuit Courts. This case took eleven years and the Supreme Court ruled that black citizens weren't really citizens so they could not be protected by the Constitution. 

Visualizing Abolition- This is another digital humanities project that showcases the inner workings of abolition that occurred in Britain and how it influenced American abolition. Within the correspondence database, there are multiple mentions of enslaved people in the Caribbean as well. 

Black Abolitionist Archive from the University of Detroit-This database gathered by the University of Detroit. It can be browsed by author, organization, keyword, and publication. The variety of materials focuses on the abolition movement through the prospective of black members of the movement. 

North American Slave Narratives from Documenting the South and American Slave Narratives: In a time where there was no audio equipment to take oral histories, narratives became the way for enslaved people to tell their stories. These two databases showcase different narratives from history. 


Atkins Library Databases

These are the Atkins Library database Resources for your class. You may have to sign in to access these materials, which may include entering your institution (type University of North Carolina at Charlotte) and then enter your NinerNet credentials. 

Accessible Archives- This database allows you to search across various collections including various volumes of African-American Newspapers, the Frederick Douglass paper, and various Civil War databases. 

Archives Unbound- This database allows you to search across various manuscript collections from different institutions. 

African-American Newspapers, 1827-1998

Caribbean Newspapers, 1718-1886- Caribbean Newspapers database provides you with access to various historical newspapers from the region. A particular point of interest includes the newspapers articles around the American Revolution and then the Haitian Revolution, one that directly influenced the area. 

The Colored American Newspaper-Historical newspaper from New York City that covered the moral, political, and social aspects of free people and the pursuit of emancipation for enslaved persons that covers the years of 1837 to 1842. 

Douglass Monthly, 1859-1863- One of the four papers that Frederick Douglass founded that was dedicated to abolition and social reform. 

Freedom’s Journal, 1827-1829- First African-American newspaper operated and founded in the United States. 

Harper’s Weekly, 1857-1912- This paper was published from 1857 until 1912 but became well-known for its extensive coverage of the Civil War and was based in New York City. 

Weekly Advocate, Jan. 1837-March 1838