Digital Resources for Early American Studies

African American Studies

The Antislavery Literature Project
"Antislavery literature represents the origins of multicultural literature in the United States. The goal of the Antislavery Literature Project is to increase public access to a body of literature crucial to understanding African American experience, US and hemispheric histories of slavery, and early human rights philosophies. These multilingual collections contribute to an educational consciousness of the role of many antislavery writers in creating contemporary concepts of freedom." -- Professor Joe Lockard, Arizona State University

"About the Antislavery Literature Project: The Antislavery Literature Project was established in 2002 as a collaborative electronic publishing venture in a major but under-studied area of American literature. The Project is based in the Arizona State University’s English department and works in cooperation with the EServer, located at Iowa State University." -- Professor Geoffrey Sauer, Iowa State University

The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: A Visual Record, University of Virginia Library
"The 1,280 images in this collection have been selected from a wide range of sources, most of them dating from the period of slavery. This collection is envisioned as a tool and a resource that can be used by teachers, researchers, students, and the general public - in brief, anyone interested in the experiences of Africans who were enslaved and transported to the Americas and the lives of their descendants in the slave societies of the New World."

Documenting the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
"Documenting the American South (DocSouth) is a digital publishing initiative that provides Internet access to texts, images, and audio files related to southern history, literature, and culture. Currently DocSouth includes ten thematic collections of books, diaries, posters, artifacts, letters, oral history interviews, and songs. The University Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill sponsors Documenting the American South, and the texts and materials come primarily from its southern holdings."

The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition
"About the Center. The Gilder Lehrman Center strives to make a vital contribution to the understanding of slavery and its role in the development of the modern world. While the Center's primary focus has been on scholarly research, it also seeks to bridge the divide between scholarship and public knowledge by opening channels of communication between the scholarly community and the wider public. In collaboration with secondary schools, museums, parks, historical societies, and other related institutions, the Center facilitates a locally rooted understanding of the global impact of slavery."

John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture, Duke University
"About: The John Hope Franklin Research Center in the Rubenstein Library collects, preserves and promotes the use of published and unpublished primary sources for the exploration, understanding and advancement of scholarship of the history and culture of Africa and people of the African Diaspora in the Americas. The Franklin Research Center is a special collection repository, research division and educational outreach center within the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University."

Legacies of British Slave-ownership, University College London
"Legacies of British Slave-ownership is the umbrella for two projects based at UCL tracing the impact of slave-ownership on the formation of modern Britain: the ESRC-funded Legacies of British Slave-ownership project, now complete, and the ESRC and AHRC-funded Structure and significance of British Caribbean slave-ownership 1763-1833, running from 2013-2015."

Musical Passage: Voyage to 1688 Jamaica
"Musical Passage: Voyage to 1688 Jamaica tells the story of an important, but little known record of early African diasporic music. This project is a collaborative endeavor by Laurent Dubois, David Garner, and Mary Caton Lingold. We aim to shed light on this unique document and to further the ongoing effort to understand the early history of one of the world’s greatest cultural movements. Enslaved Africans and their descendants revolutionized global music, but historical records tell us far too little about their earliest practices. In this site we offer a careful interpretation of a single rare artifact, from Hans Sloane’s 1707 Voyage to the Islands of Madera, Barbados, Nieves, S. Christophers and Jamaica. Tucked away in this centuries-old book, are several pieces of music that make it possible to hear echoes of performances long past."

Slavery and the Making of America, PBS
"SLAVERY AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA is a four-part series documenting the history of American slavery from its beginnings in the British colonies to its end in the Southern states and the years of post-Civil War Reconstruction. Drawing on a wealth of recent scholarship, it looks at slavery as an integral part of a developing nation, challenging the long held notion that slavery was exclusively a Southern enterprise. At the same time, by focusing on the remarkable stories of individual slaves, it offers new perspectives on the slave experience and testifies to the active role that Africans and African Americans took in surviving their bondage and shaping their own lives."

Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database
"About the Project: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database is the culmination of several decades of independent and collaborative research by scholars drawing upon data in libraries and archives around the Atlantic world. The Voyages website itself is the product of two years of development by a multi-disciplinary team of historians, librarians, curriculum specialists, cartographers, computer programmers, and web designers, in consultation with scholars of the slave trade from universities in Europe, Africa, South America, and North America. The National Endowment for the Humanities was the principal sponsor of this Emory University Digital Library Research initiative. The W.E.B. Du Bois Institute of Harvard University and the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation of the University of Hull have also supported its development."

Olaudah Equiano: The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African (1789), Documenting the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Thomas Jefferson's Monticello: Plantation and Slavery
"Monticello was home not only to the Jefferson family, but to workers, black and white, enslaved and free."

The Jefferson-Hemings Controversy, Edward J. Gallagher, Professor of English, Lehigh University
The Jefferson-Hemings Controversy project was developed in collaboration with students in four courses at Lehigh University during the years 2009-2012. Playing off the provocative description by prominent Jefferson scholar Joseph J. Ellis, the core of JHC is a sixteen-part "miniseries," framed by a prologue and epilogue, that follows the controversy chronologically from its inception by James Thomson Callender in 1802 to the at-present climactic work on the Hemings family by Annette Gordon-Reed in 2008. The other major part of JHC is a corollary section called "Jefferson on Race and Slavery" that contains both primary and secondary works on this subject as a valuable point of reference for the significant issues raised by the controversy. The JHC is part of the History on Trial suite of sites, Edward J. Gallagher, Professor of English, Lehigh University

Phillis Wheatley: Selected poems (1773), The Academy of American Poets

Phillis Wheatley: Selected poems (1773), Poetry Foundation

Phillis Wheatley: Selected poems (1773), The National Humanities Center

A Voice of Her Own, Phillis Wheatley, Library of Congress