Scene in The Bahamas, 1884

The Saltwater Railroad

Throughout the 19th century, enslaved people attempted to escape from the U.S. to the Bahamas, across what became known as the "Saltwater Railroad."
Zumbi by Antônio Parreiras

Brazil’s Maroon State

For nearly a century, Quilombo of Palmares was an Afro-Brazilian state, populated and run by people who had freed themselves from slavery.
A group of slaves gathered outside a building at the Foller Plantation in Cumberland Landing, Pamunkey Run, Virginia, May, 1862.

Did Black Rebellion Win the Civil War?

Historians are giving credence to W.E.B. DuBois's assertion that enslaved workers coordinated a general strike, which helped end the Civil War.
African American graveyard

Grave Robbing, Black Cemeteries, and the American Medical School

In the 19th century, students at American medical schools stole the corpses of recently-buried African Americans to be used for dissection.
Antigua sugar cane slavery

Did Venereal Disease Lead to Abolition?

Many abolitionists seeking to end slavery in the British West Indies were concerned less with human rights, more with the preponderance of interracial sex.
anti-abolitionist cartoon

How Antebellum Christians Justified Slavery

After Emancipation, some Southern Protestants refused to revise their proslavery views. In their minds, slavery had been divinely sanctioned.
portrait of abolitionist James Hinds, 1860s

The White Carpetbagger Who Died Trying to Protect African-Americans’ Civil Rights

James Hinds was assassinated for his beliefs, and today is largely forgotten. He stood up for African-American civil rights during the Reconstruction, provoking the KKK's ire.
Serfdom in Russia

How American Slavery Echoed Russian Serfdom

Russian serfdom and American slavery ended within two years of each other; the defenders of these systems of bondage surprisingly shared many of the same arguments.
Purim history

The Bacchanalian, Drunken, Role-Switching Carnival of Purim

The day-long Purim festival was transformed into a week-long carnival in the Dutch Caribbean colonies, as a rowdy celebration of inversion celebrated liberations of all kinds.
Pequot war engraving

When Native Americans Were Slaves

Initially, Indian slavery was considered different from African slavery in the early Anglo-American colonial world, but this split did last for long.