The slave ship Diligente was engaged in the illegal slave trade when it was seized in 1838. A lieutenant in the British Royal Navy painted this scene from the ship.

The Unbearable Middle Passage

In the eighteenth century, doctors recognized melancholy as a disease endemic to groups forcibly displaced from their homes, particularly enslaved Africans.

Deep Zoom: 1836 Broadside “Slave Market of America”

Published by the American Anti-Slavery Society, this single 77 by 55 centimeter sheet tells multiple stories in both text and illustration.
From an interview with Eliza Hixon

Angela Proctor on the “Opinions Regarding Slavery: Slave Narratives” Collection

We spoke with Angela Proctor, head archivist at Southern University, about the collections of slave narratives compiled by John B. Cade from 1929-1935.
John B. Cade

John B. Cade’s Project to Document the Stories of the Formerly Enslaved

A recently digitized slave narrative collection consists of original manuscripts compiled by John Brother Cade and his students at Southern University.
A print based on David Gilmour Blythe's fanciful painting of Lincoln writing the Emancipation Proclamation

The Emancipation Proclamation: Annotated

Abraham Lincoln proclaimed freedom for enslaved people in America on January 1, 1863. Today, we've annotated the Emancipation Proclamation for readers.
Handout for a 1776 performance of Oroonoko

Science and Slavery in Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko

In one of the first novels written in English, a West African prince, fascinated with navigation, boards a ship for a fateful journey.
Ancient Roman slave-collar

Slave Collars in Ancient Rome

The objects purported to speak for the wearer: "Hold me! I have run away."
Statue of Benkos Biohó in San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia

Black Conquistadors and Black Maroons

Some formerly enslaved Blacks and freedmen accompanied the Spanish invaders; others formed their own communities.
A troupe of "Masqueraders" carry whips and perform a parody of Irish dance steps, a tradition started by african slaves who were mocking their Irish slave masters.

Montserrat’s St. Patrick’s Day Commemorates a Rebellion

On March 17, 1768, the enslaved people of a Caribbean island planned a revolt, assuming the Irish slave owners would be drunk and distracted.
An African-American miner poses with a shovel in Auburn Ravine during the Gold Rush, California, 1852.

Slavery in a Free State: The Case of California

California came into the Union as a free state in 1850, but proslavery politicians held considerable sway there.