Most of the primary sources available in the following databases are written about, rather than by, Black people and the (currently or formerly) enslaved. Be sure to keep this in mind when analyzing these sources. Additionally, due to their historic nature, many items contain and/or are described by offensive and outdated terminology. Please be aware of this and take care of yourself when consulting these sources.
Slave Biographies: The Atlantic Database Network is an open access data repository of information on the identities of enslaved people in the Atlantic World. It includes the names, ethnicities, skills, occupations, and illnesses of individual slaves.
Slavery, Abolition, Emancipation, and Freedom: Primary Sources from Houghton Library (SAEF) is a growing digital collection highlighting materials related to Black history and culture from Harvard University's Houghton Library. These materials were hand-selected to provide freely accessible digitized primary sources for scholars of all sorts.
Bringing together primary source documents from archives and libraries across the Atlantic world, this resource allows students and researchers to explore and compare unique material relating to the complex subjects of slavery, abolition and social justice.
Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive is devoted to the study and understanding of the history of slavery in America and the rest of the world from the 17th century to the late 19th century. The database includes more than five million cross-searchable pages sourced from books, pamphlets, newspapers, periodicals, legal documents, court records, monographs, manuscripts, and maps from many different countries covering the history of the slave trade.
The SlaveVoyages website is a collaborative digital initiative that compiles and makes publicly accessible records of the largest slave trades in history. Search these records to learn about the broad origins and forced relocations of more than 12 million African people who were sent across the Atlantic in slave ships, and hundreds of thousands more who were trafficked within the Americas. Explore where they were taken, the numerous rebellions that occurred, the horrific loss of life during the voyages, the identities and nationalities of the perpetrators, and much more.
The subcollection Southern Life, Slavery, and the Civil War consists of several modules:
-Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Law and Order in the 19th Century (1636-1880)
-Slavery and the Law (1775-1867)
Slavery and the Law features petitions on race, slavery, and free blacks that were submitted to state legislatures and county courthouses between 1775 and 1867.
-Slavery in Antebellum Southern Industries (1700-1896)
-Southern Life and African American History, 1775-1915, Plantations Records (4 parts)
Southern Plantation Records document the far-reaching impact of plantations on both the American South and the nation. Plantation records are both business records and personal papers because the plantation was both the business and the home for plantation owners.
Includes multiple sub-collections in broad subject areas like Civil Rights; Southern Life, Slavery, and the Civil War; American Indians and the American West; American Politics and Society; International Relations and Military Conflicts; Women's Studies; and Workers and Labor Unions