New York, 1855

How One Household Avoided Emancipation Laws

The Volunbruns enslaved twenty people and moved relentlessly between empires and states as more jurisdictions outlawed slavery.
A dramatic portrayal of the 1856 attack and severe beating of Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner by Representative Preston S. Brooks of South Carolina.

Political Divisions Led to Violence in the U.S. Senate in 1856

The horrific caning of Charles Sumner on the floor of the Senate in 1856 marked one of the most divisive moments in U.S. political history.
Ellen and William Craft

Passing for White to Escape Slavery

Passing for white was an intentional strategy that enslaved people used to free themselves from bondage.
Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison’s Operatic Life

Toni Morrison was renowned for the musicality of her prose, so writing lyrics for classical music wasn't a huge stretch.
Frances Wright, 1881

Nashoba: Not So Interracial, Not So Utopian

In the 1820s, Frances Wright established a community whose major project was the emancipation of enslaved people. Why did it crash and burn?
Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates testifies during a hearing on slavery reparations held by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties on June 19, 2019.

The Case for Reparations Is Nothing New

In fact, Black activists and civil rights leaders have been advocating for compensation for the trauma and cost of slavery for centuries.
George Washington's teeth

Were George Washington’s Teeth Taken from Enslaved People?

We know a surprising amount about the dental history of the nation’s first president.
Vicente Guerrero

Black Mexico and the War of Independence

The president of Mexico who finally issued the decree ending slavery was of African descent himself.
Simón Bolívar by José Gil de Castro

Bolívar in Haiti

Simón Bolívar was a man of contradiction. He was willing to set in motion the gradual abolition of slavery, but that would be as far as he would go.
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."