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Celebrate Juneteenth : Further Research

Open Access Primary Sources

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Trans-Atlantic 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.

Documenting the American South logo

Documenting the American South

Documenting the American South (DocSouth) is a digital archive sponsored by the University of North Carolina that provides access to texts, images, and audio files related to southern history, literature, and culture. Currently, DocSouth includes sixteen thematic collections of books, diaries, posters, artifacts, letters, oral history interviews, and songs.

Library of Congress logo

The Library of Congress provides access to digital collections containing books, newspapers, manuscripts, prints and photos, maps, musical scores, films, sound recordings, and more. Check out the following collections for an inside look into the time period leading up to Juneteenth.

Voices Remembering Slavery: Freed People Tell Their Stories

The recordings of former slaves in Voices Remembering Slavery: Freed People Tell Their Stories took place between 1932 and 1975 in nine states. Twenty-three interviewees discuss how they felt about slavery, slaveholders, coercion of slaves, their families, and freedom. Several individuals sing songs, many of which were learned during the time of their enslavement. The individuals documented in this presentation have much to say about living as African Americans from the 1870s to the 1930s, and beyond.

Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936 to 1938

Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938 contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves. These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Project (FWP) of the Works Progress Administration, later renamed Work Projects Administration (WPA).

From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1822-1909

From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1822-1909 presents 396 pamphlets from the Rare Book and Special Collections Division, published from 1822 through 1909, by African-American authors and others who wrote about slavery, African colonization, Emancipation, Reconstruction, and related topics. The materials range from personal accounts and public orations to organizational reports and legislative speeches.

NY Historical Society Manuscript Collections Relating to Slavery

The library of the New-York Historical Society holds among its many resources a substantial collection of manuscript materials documenting American slavery and the slave trade in the Atlantic world. They consist of diaries, account books, letter books, ships’ logs, indentures, bills of sale, personal papers, and records of institutions.

James Birney Collection of Anti-Slavery Pamphlets

As an abolitionist writer and publisher, James Birney recognized that books, pamphlets and newspapers were the lifeblood of anti-slavery agitation. In 1891, his son William presented his father's collection of over 1,000 books and pamphlets to The Johns Hopkins University. It contained materials gathered by James Birney in the course of his anti-slavery labors, and items gathered by William Birney while preparing a biography of his father. Over the years the collection has been augmented and now includes both anti- and pro-slavery material; printed speeches; African colonization; politics and campaign biographies; and black education.

Frederick Douglass Papers

Douglass Papers, from the Library of Congress's Manuscript Division, contains approximately 7,400 items (38,000 images) relating to Douglass' life as an escaped slave, abolitionist, editor, orator, and public servant. The papers span the years 1841 to 1964, with the bulk of the material from 1862 to 1895. The collection consists of correspondence, speeches and articles.

Anti-slavery Manuscripts Collection

The papers of William Lloyd Garrison and other historical figures central to the Boston anti-slavery movement can be viewed and downloaded for free. You can browse by subject or keyword.

Samuel J. May Anti-Slavery Collection

Numbering over 10,000 titles, May's pamphlets and leaflets document the anti-slavery struggle at the local, regional, and national levels. Sermons, position papers, offprints, local Anti-Slavery Society newsletters, poetry anthologies, freedmen's testimonies, broadsides, and Anti-Slavery Fair keepsakes all document the social and political implications of the abolitionist movement.

Black Abolitionist Archive

The Black Abolitionist Digital Archive is a collection of over 800 speeches by antebellum blacks and approximately 1,000 editorials from the period. The collection is searchable by keyword or you can browse by keyword, author, publication or organization.

Quakers & Slavery

The types of materials available at this website are photographs and lithographs, organization records, personal correspondence, and other publications. It is an online searchable database from Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore Colleges.

North American Slave Narratives

collects books and articles that document the individual and collective story of African Americans struggling for freedom and human rights in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. This collection includes all the existing autobiographical narratives of fugitive and former slaves published as broadsides, pamphlets, or books in English up to 1920.


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Voices from the Days of Slavery: Stories, Songs and Memories

These recordings document the first-person accounts of several individuals whose life experiences spanned the period during and after slavery. 

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Slavery and Its Legacies

A podcast series featuring visiting scholars, activists, and others about their contributions to the understanding of slavery past and present and its ongoing role in the development of the modern world. 

Historical Newspapers

UofL Databases

The New York Times (Proquest Historical Newspapers)
Contains full-page images of every issue since it was first published in 1851, including all articles, illustrations, and advertisements. (1851-2018)

Civil War: A Newspaper Perspective
Full text of major articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York Herald, The Charleston Mercury, and the Richmond Enquirer. (1860-1865)

Early American Newspapers
A collection of over 700 newspapers of historical importance, both at the national and the local level. (1690-1876)

Readers' Guide Retrospective
An index of subjects in the popular press as originally published in the Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature. (1890-1982)

Louisville Courier-Journal (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
Provides full-page images of the entire contents from 1830 to 2000.

African American Newspapers (1827-1998)
Consists of more than 350 U.S. newspapers published by or for African Americans.

Open Access

Chronicling America
A collection of over 600 newspapers from 30 states published between 1690-present sponsored by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Portal to Texas History
Large collection of Texas historical newspapers including thousands of articles published during the Civil War and Reconstruction (1813-present)

North Carolina Newspapers
Collection of over 50 North Carolina newspapers. Includes the Fayetteville Observer (1851-1865), North Carolina Whig (Charlotte, 1852-1862), and Mecklenburg Jeffersonian (Charlotte, 1841-1849).

Freedom's Journal
The first African-American owned and operated newspaper published in the United States, Freedom's Journal provided international, national, and regional information on current events and contained editorials declaiming slavery, lynching, and other injustices.

Pennsylvania Historic Newspapers
Collection of mainly small-town newspapers in Pennsylvania covers 1826-1929.

Pennsylvania Civil War Era Newspapers
Contains digital archives of selected newspapers published during the pivotal years before, during, and after the U.S. Civil War. (1847 to 1874.)

Kansas Memory Historical Newspaper Clippings Collection
Over 380 clippings from Kansas newspapers from 1841-1987.

Frederick Douglass' Paper
Select pieces of the abolitionist paper published in Rochester, earlier called The North Star.

The Liberator
Searchable selected articles of this abolitionist newspaper published in Boston, edited by William Lloyd Garrison.

Friend of Man
Friend of Man, published from 1836-1842, is a newspapers that documented early anti-slavery and other reform movements. The complete set of Friend of Man is available from Cornell University.

The Emancipation Proclamation

"What effect did the Emancipation Proclamation have on the Civil War? Did it have a broader effect on the slave trade throughout the Americas?

In celebration of Law Day, these questions and many more were discussed by Congressman G.K. Butterfield, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., Dean Kurt Schmoke and Professor Emeritus Roger Wilkins, with PBS Newshour's congressional correspondent Kwame Holman moderating. The program was presented with support from the Friends of the Law Library of Congress."


“Law Day 2009: Emancipation Proclamation.” The Library of Congress,