top of page

ENSLAVEMENT

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Literary

Olaudah Equiano; Vincent Carretta (Editor, Introduction by, Notes by)

The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings

Completely revised and edited with an introduction and notes by Vincent Carretta An exciting and often terrifying adventure story, as well as an important precursor to such famous nineteenth-century slave narratives as Frederick Douglass's autobiographies, Olaudah Equiano's The Interesting Narrative recounts his kidnapping in Africa at the age of ten, his service as the slave of an officer in the British Navy, his ten years of labor on slave ships until he was able to purchase his freedom in 1766, and his life afterward as a leading and respected figure in the antislavery movement in England. A spirited autobiography, a tale of spiritual quest and fulfillment, and a sophisticated treatise on religion, politics, and economics, The Interesting Narrative is a work of enduring literary and historical value. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Solomon Northup

Twelve Years a Slave

Twelve Years a Slave is a memoir and slave narrative by Solomon Northup as told to and edited by David Wilson. Northup, a black man who was born free in New York, details his kidnapping in Washington, D.C., and subsequent sale into slavery. After having been kept in bondage for 12 years in Louisiana by various masters, Northup was able to write to friends and family in New York, who were in turn able to secure his release. Northup's account provides extensive details on the slave markets in Washington, D.C., and New Orleans and describes at length cotton and sugar cultivation on major plantations in Louisiana.

David Dabydeen

Slave Song

Songs of frustration and defiance from African slaves and displaced Indian laborers are expressed in a harsh and lyrical Guyanese Creole far removed from contemporary English in these provocative Caribbean poems. An insightful critical apparatus of English translations surrounds these lyrics, shedding light on their meaning, while at the same time cleverly commenting on the impossibility of translating Creole and parodying critical attempts to explain and contextualize Caribbean poetry. Twenty years after the initial release of this work, the power of these poems and the self-fashioned critique that accompanies them remain a lively and vital part of Caribbean literature.

Herbert Aptheker; Bettina Aptheker (Preface by)

Nat Turner's Slave Rebellion

The first full-length study of the bloodiest slave uprising in U.S. history, this meticulously researched document explores the nature of Southern society in the early 19th century and the conditions that led to the rebellion. Aptheker's book includes Turner's "Confessions," recorded before his execution in 1831.

Julia C. Collins; William L. Andrews (Editor); Mitch Kachun (Editor)

The Curse of Caste; or the Slave Bride

In 1865, The Christian Recorder, the national newspaper of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, serialized The Curse of Caste; or The Slave Bride, a novel written by Mrs. Julia C. Collins, an African American woman living in the small town of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The first novel everpublished by a black American woman, it is set in antebellum Louisiana and Connecticut, and focuses on the lives of a beautiful mixed-race mother and daughter whose opportunities for fulfillment through love and marriage are threatened by slavery and caste prejudice. The text shares much withpopular nineteenth-century women's fiction, while its dominant themes of interracial romance, hidden African ancestry, and ambiguous racial identity have parallels in the writings of both black and white authors from the period.Begun in the waning months of the Civil War, the novel was near its conclusion when Julia Collins died of tuberculosis in November of 1865. In this first-ever book publication of The Curse of Caste; or The Slave Bride, the editors have composed a hopeful and a tragic ending, reflecting twoalternatives Collins almost certainly would have considered for the closing of her unprecedented novel. In their introduction, the editors offer the most complete and current research on the life and community of an author who left few traces in the historical record, and provide extensivediscussion of her novel's literary and historical significance. Collins's published essays, which provide intriguing glimpses into the mind of this gifted but overlooked writer, are included in what will prove to be the definitive edition of a major new discovery in African American literature. Itspublication contributes immensely to our understanding of black American literature, religion, women's history, community life, and race relations during the era of United States emancipation.

Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing

Ghana, eighteenth century: two half sisters are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and sold into slavery. One of Oprah's Best Books of the Year and a PEN/Hemingway award winner, Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. Yaa Gyasi's extraordinary novel illuminates slavery's troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed--and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation. A New York Times Notable Book

Harriet A. Jacobs

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

This autobiographical account by a former slave is one of the few extant narratives written by a woman. Written and published in 1861, it delivers a powerful portrayal of the brutality of slave life. Jacobs speaks frankly of her master's abuse and her eventual escape, in a tale of dauntless spirit and faith.

Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Water Dancer

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * From the National Book Award-winning author of Between the World and Me, a boldly conjured debut novel about a magical gift, a devastating loss, and an underground war for freedom. "This potent book about America's most disgraceful sin establishes [Ta-Nehisi Coates] as a first-rate novelist."--San Francisco Chronicle IN DEVELOPMENT AS A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE * Adapted by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Kamilah Forbes, produced by MGM, Plan B, and Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Films NOMINATED FOR THE NAACP IMAGE AWARD * NAMED ONE OF PASTE'S BEST NOVELS OF THE DECADE * NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Time * NPR * The Washington Post * Chicago Tribune * Vanity Fair * Esquire * Good Housekeeping * Paste * Town & Country * The New York Public Library * Kirkus Reviews * Library Journal Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her--but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he's ever known. So begins an unexpected journey that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia's proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the Deep South to dangerously idealistic movements in the North. Even as he's enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, Hiram's resolve to rescue the family he left behind endures. This is the dramatic story of an atrocity inflicted on generations of women, men, and children--the violent and capricious separation of families--and the war they waged to simply make lives with the people they loved. Written by one of today's most exciting thinkers and writers, The Water Dancer is a propulsive, transcendent work that restores the humanity of those from whom everything was stolen. Praise for The Water Dancer "Ta-Nehisi Coates is the most important essayist in a generation and a writer who changed the national political conversation about race with his 2015 memoir, Between the World and Me. So naturally his debut novel comes with slightly unrealistic expectations--and then proceeds to exceed them. The Water Dancer . . . is a work of both staggering imagination and rich historical significance. . . . What's most powerful is the way Coates enlists his notions of the fantastic, as well as his fluid prose, to probe a wound that never seems to heal. . . . Timeless and instantly canon-worthy."--Rolling Stone

Lenora Warren

Fire on the Water

Lenora Warren tells a new story about the troubled history of abolition and slave violence by examining representations of shipboard mutiny and insurrection in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Anglo-American and American literature. Fire on the Water centers on five black sailors, whose experiences of slavery and insurrection either inspired or found resonance within fiction: Olaudah Equiano, Denmark Vesey, Joseph Cinqué, Madison Washington, and Washington Goode. These stories of sailors, both real and fictional, reveal how the history of mutiny and insurrection is both shaped by, and resistant to, the prevailing abolitionist rhetoric surrounding the efficacy of armed rebellion as a response to slavery. Pairing well-known texts with lesser-known figures (Billy Budd and Washington Goode) and well-known figures with lesser-known texts (Denmark Vesey and the work of John Howison), this book reveals the richness of literary engagement with the politics of slave violence. Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.

Saidiya Hartman

The Time of Slavery

For to me history was not a large stage filled with
commemoration, bands, cheers, ribbons, medals, the
sound of fine glass clinking and raised high in the air;
in other words, the sounds of victory. For me history
was not only the past: it was the past and it was also
the present. I did not mind my defeat, I only minded
that it had to last so long; I did not see the future, and
that is perhaps as it should be.
—Jamaica Kincaid, The Autobiography of My Mother
Slavery here is a ghost, both the past and the living
presence; and the problem of historical representation
is how to represent the ghost.
—Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Silencing the Past

Olaudah Equiano

The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano

An exciting and often terrifying adventure story, as well as an important precursor to such famous nineteenth-century slave narratives as Frederick Douglass's autobiographies, Olaudah Equiano's The Interesting Narrative recounts his kidnapping in Africa at the age of ten, his service as the slave of an officer in the British Navy, his ten years of labor on slave ships until he was able to purchase his freedom in 1766, and his life afterward as a leading and respected figure in the antislavery movement in England. A spirited autobiography, a tale of spiritual quest and fulfillment, and a sophisticated treatise on religion, politics, and economics, The Interesting Narrative is a work of enduring literary and historical value.

Nikole Hannah-Jones

The 1619 Project

In August of 1619, a ship appeared on this horizon, near Point Comfort, a coastal port in the English colony of Virginia. It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonists. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the years of slavery that followed. In the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, it is finally time to tell our story truthfully.

Craig Steven Wilder

Ebony and Ivy

A 2006 report commissioned by Brown University revealed that institution's complex and contested involvement in slavery-setting off a controversy that leapt from the ivory tower to make headlines across the country. But Brown's troubling past was far from unique. InEbony and Ivy, Craig Steven Wilder, a rising star in the profession of history, lays bare uncomfortable truths about race, slavery, and the American academy. Many of America's revered colleges and universities-from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton to Rutgers, Williams College, and UNC-were soaked in the sweat, the tears, and sometimes the blood of people of color. The earliest academies proclaimed their mission to Christianize the savages of North America, and played a key role in white conquest. Later, the slave economy and higher education grew up together, each nurturing the other. Slavery funded colleges, built campuses, and paid the wages of professors. Enslaved Americans waited on faculty and students; academic leaders aggressively courted the support of slave owners and slave traders. Significantly, as Wilder shows, our leading universities, dependent on human bondage, became breeding grounds for the racist ideas that sustained them. Ebony and Ivy is a powerful and propulsive study and the first of its kind, revealing a history of oppression behind the institutions usually considered the cradle of liberal politics.

Vincent Brown

Tacky's Revolt

Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award Winner of the James A. Rawley Prize in the History of Race Relations Winner of the Phillis Wheatley Book Award Finalist for the Cundill Prize A gripping account of the largest slave revolt in the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world, an uprising that laid bare the interconnectedness of Europe, Africa, and America, shook the foundations of empire, and reshaped ideas of race and popular belonging. In the second half of the eighteenth century, as European imperial conflicts extended the domain of capitalist agriculture, warring African factions fed their captives to the transatlantic slave trade while masters struggled continuously to keep their restive slaves under the yoke. In this contentious atmosphere, a movement of enslaved West Africans in Jamaica (then called Coromantees) organized to throw off that yoke by violence. Their uprising--which became known as Tacky's Revolt--featured a style of fighting increasingly familiar today: scattered militias opposing great powers, with fighters hard to distinguish from noncombatants. It was also part of a more extended borderless conflict that spread from Africa to the Americas and across the island. Even after it was put down, the insurgency rumbled throughout the British Empire at a time when slavery seemed the dependable bedrock of its dominion. That certitude would never be the same, nor would the views of black lives, which came to inspire both more fear and more sympathy than before. Tracing the roots, routes, and reverberations of this event across disparate parts of the Atlantic world, Vincent Brown offers us a superb geopolitical thriller. Tacky's Revolt expands our understanding of the relationship between European, African, and American history, as it speaks to our understanding of wars of terror today.

Marvin J. Chomsky, John Erman, David Greene, Gilbert Moses

Roots

From Alex Haley's Pulitzer Prize-winning book comes the stirring, sweeping saga of his unforgettable family and its struggle over many generations to survive slavery and regain freedom - Roots. In 1750, slave traders abduct the proud African warrior Kunta Kinte (LeVar Burton) and a new American story begins. Forged in blood, sweat and tears, a dream of freedom sustains Kunta and his descendants through more than a century of hardship and oppression. Cicely Tyson, Edward Asner, John Amos, Louis Gossett, Jr., Lloyd Bridges, Leslie Uggams, Ben Vereen and O.J. Simpson costar in this historical epic. Providing eloquent witness to the indomitable human spirit, this internationally acclaimed series reveals untold cultural riches to all humanity from one man's personal treasure, his Roots."

Phyllis Alesia Perry

Stigmata

A Pulitzer Prize-winning editor offers a stunning debut novel--a lyrical story told through through a panoply of voices that matches the best in the rich tradition of African-American fiction, while charting new territory with its exploration of a young girl's apparent descent into madness.

Ellen Craft and William Craft

Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom

William Craft (1824-1900) and Ellen Craft (1826-1891) were American slaves from Georgia who managed to escape to the North in 1848. Disguised as a white male painter (Ellen Craft) and servant (William Craft), they travelled openly by rail and river and arrived in Philadelphia on Christmas Day. Their exploit became well known and was covered widely in the press, which put their lives in danger and resulted in the pair moving to England, where they lived for almost twenty years and raised a family. First published in 1806, "Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom" contains their memoirs and represents one of the most influential slave narratives published prior to the Civil War. A fascinating and moving insight into the life and plight of American slaves not to be missed by those with an interest in American history. Read & Co. History is proudly republishing this classic memoir now in a new addition complete with an introductory chapter by Frederick Douglass.

Annie L. Burton

Women's Slave Narratives

Unflinching accounts of slavery in the antebellum American South are presented in moving testimonies of five African-American women. Covering a wide range of narrative styles, the voices provide authentic recollections of hardship, frustration, and hope -- from Mary Prince's groundbreaking account of a lone woman's tribulations and courage to Annie Burton's eulogy to motherhood.

Library of Congress

COLLECTION: 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). At the conclusion of the Slave Narrative project, a set of edited transcripts was assembled and microfilmed in 1941 as the seventeen-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. In 2000-2001, with major support from the Citigroup Foundation, the Library digitized the narratives from the microfilm edition and scanned from the originals 500 photographs, including more than 200 that had never been microfilmed or made publicly available. This online collection is a joint presentation of the Manuscript and Prints and Photographs divisions of the Library of Congress.

William Wells Brown

The Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave

Thirteen years ago, I came to your door, a weary fugitive from chains and stripes. I was a stranger, and you took me in. I was hungry, and you fed me. Naked was I, and you clothed me. Even a name by which to be known among men, slavery had denied me. You bestowed upon me your own. Base indeed should I be, if I ever forget what I owe to you, or do anything to disgrace that honored name! As a slight testimony of my gratitude to my earliest benefactor, I take the liberty to inscribe to you this little Narrative of the sufferings from which I was fleeing when you had compassion upon me. In the multitude that you have succored, it is very possible that you may not remember me; but until I forget God and myself, I can never forget you. Your grateful friend, WILLIAM WELLS BROWN.

Dudley Randall

The Black Poets

"The claim of The Black Poetsnbsp;nbsp;to being... an anthology is that presents the full range of Black-American poetry from the slave songs to the present day. It is important that folk poetry be included because it is the root and inspiration of later, literary poetry. Not only does this book present the full range of Black poetry, but it presents most poets in depths, and in some cases presents aspects of a poet neglected or overlooked before. Gwendolyn Brooks is represented not only by poems on racial and domestic themes, but is revealed as a writer of superb love lyrics. Turning away from White models and returning to their roots has freed Black poets to create a new poetry. This book records their progress."--from the Introduction by Dudley Randall

William L. Andrews

Six Women's Slave Narratives

Written by six black women, these stories embody most of the predominant themes and narrative forms found in African-American women's autobiographies from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Beginning with the first female slave narrative from the Americas, The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave (1831), the collection includes writings by "Old Elizabeth," Mattie J. Jackson, Lucy A. Delaney, Kate Drumgoold, and Annie L. Burton. Each ofthese stories reveals the black woman's ability to recover in past oppression the hope for a better day.

Christina Sharpe

In the Wake

In this original and trenchant work, Christina Sharpe interrogates literary, visual, cinematic, and quotidian representations of Black life that comprise what she calls the "orthography of the wake." Activating multiple registers of "wake"--the path behind a ship, keeping watch with the dead, coming to consciousness--Sharpe illustrates how Black lives are swept up and animated by the afterlives of slavery, and she delineates what survives despite such insistent violence and negation. Initiating and describing a theory and method of reading the metaphors and materiality of "the wake," "the ship," "the hold," and "the weather," Sharpe shows how the sign of the slave ship marks and haunts contemporary Black life in the diaspora and how the specter of the hold produces conditions of containment, regulation, and punishment, but also something in excess of them. In the weather, Sharpe situates anti-Blackness and white supremacy as the total climate that produces premature Black death as normative. Formulating the wake and "wake work" as sites of artistic production, resistance, consciousness, and possibility for living in diaspora, In the Wake offers a way forward.

Zora Neale Hurston; Alice Walker (Foreword by); Deborah G. Plant (Introduction by)

Barracoon

New York Times Bestseller * TIME Magazine's Best Nonfiction Book of 2018 * New York Public Library's Best Book of 2018 * NPR's Book Concierge Best Book of 2018 * Economist Book of the Year * SELF.com's Best Books of 2018 * Audible's Best of the Year * BookRiot's Best Audio Books of 2018 * The Atlantic's Books Briefing: History, Reconsidered * Atlanta Journal Constitution, Best Southern Books 2018 * The Christian Science Monitor's Best Books 2018 * "A profound impact on Hurston's literary legacy."--New York Times "One of the greatest writers of our time."--Toni Morrison "Zora Neale Hurston's genius has once again produced a Maestrapiece."--Alice Walker A major literary event: a newly published work from the author of the American classic Their Eyes Were Watching God, with a foreword from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, brilliantly illuminates the horror and injustices of slavery as it tells the true story of one of the last-known survivors of the Atlantic slave trade--abducted from Africa on the last "Black Cargo" ship to arrive in the United States. In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama, just outside Mobile, to interview eighty-six-year-old Cudjo Lewis. Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of the nation's history. Hurston was there to record Cudjo's firsthand account of the raid that led to his capture and bondage fifty years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in the United States. In 1931, Hurston returned to Plateau, the African-centric community three miles from Mobile founded by Cudjo and other former slaves from his ship. Spending more than three months there, she talked in depth with Cudjo about the details of his life. During those weeks, the young writer and the elderly formerly enslaved man ate peaches and watermelon that grew in the backyard and talked about Cudjo's past--memories from his childhood in Africa, the horrors of being captured and held in a barracoon for selection by American slavers, the harrowing experience of the Middle Passage packed with more than 100 other souls aboard the Clotilda, and the years he spent in slavery until the end of the Civil War. Based on those interviews, featuring Cudjo's unique vernacular, and written from Hurston's perspective with the compassion and singular style that have made her one of the preeminent American authors of the twentieth-century, Barracoon masterfully illustrates the tragedy of slavery and of one life forever defined by it. Offering insight into the pernicious legacy that continues to haunt us all, black and white, this poignant and powerful work is an invaluable contribution to our shared history and culture.

Frances Smith Foster (Editor); Richard Yarborough (Editor)

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: 2nd Edition, Norton Critical Edition

This Norton Critical Edition includes: The first edition (1861), with the editors' explanatory annotations, introduction, and glossary of the people of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Three illustrations. Key public statements by Harriet Jacobs, William C. Nell, the Reverend Francis J. Grimke, and others. A rich selection of correspondence by Harriet Jacobs, Lydia Maria Child, and John Greenleaf Whittier, suggesting Incidents's initial reception. Ten major critical essays, six of them new to the Second Edition. A Chronology and a Selected Bibliography.

Simone Browne

Dark Matters

In Dark Matters Simone Browne locates the conditions of blackness as a key site through which surveillance is practiced, narrated, and resisted. She shows how contemporary surveillance technologies and practices are informed by the long history of racial formation and by the methods of policing black life under slavery, such as branding, runaway slave notices, and lantern laws. Placing surveillance studies into conversation with the archive of transatlantic slavery and its afterlife, Browne draws from black feminist theory, sociology, and cultural studies to analyze texts as diverse as the methods of surveilling blackness she discusses: from the design of the eighteenth-century slave ship Brooks, Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon, and The Book of Negroes, to contemporary art, literature, biometrics, and post-9/11 airport security practices. Surveillance, Browne asserts, is both a discursive and material practice that reifies boundaries, borders, and bodies around racial lines, so much so that the surveillance of blackness has long been, and continues to be, a social and political norm.

William Wells Brown; Robert M. Levine (Editor)

Clotel or the President's Daughter

William Wells Brown'sClotel(1853), the "first" novel written by an African American, was published in London while Brown was still legally regarded as "property" within the borders of the United States. The documents in this edition include excerpts from Brown's sources for the novel--fiction, political essays, sermons, and presidential proclamations; selections that illuminate the range of contemporary attitudes concerning race, slavery, and prejudice; and pieces that advocate various methods of resistance and reform.

David Walker

David Walker's Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World

2015 Reprint of Third and Last edition of 1830. David Walker was an outspoken African-American abolitionist and anti-slavery activist. In 1829, while living in Boston, Massachusetts, he first published his famous "Appeal", a call for black unity and self-help in the fight against oppression and injustice. The work brought attention to the abuses and inequities of slavery and the obligation of individuals to act responsibly for racial equality, according to religious and political tenets. At the time, some people were outraged and fearful of the reaction that the pamphlet would have. Many abolitionists thought the views were extreme. Historians and liberation theologians cite the "Appeal" as an influential political and social document of the 19th century. Walker exerted a radicalizing influence on the abolitionist movements of his day and inspired future black leaders and activists.

Andrea Stuart

Sugar in the Blood

n the late 1630s, lured by the promise of the New World, Andrea Stuart's earliest known maternal ancestor, George Ashby, set sail from England to settle in Barbados. He fell into the life of a sugar plantation owner by mere chance, but by the time he harvested his first crop, a revolution was fully under way: the farming of sugar cane, and the swiftly increasing demands for sugar worldwide, would not only lift George Ashby from abject poverty and shape the lives of his descendants, but it would also bind together ambitious white entrepreneurs and enslaved black workers in a strangling embrace. Stuart uses her own family story--from the seventeenth century through the present--as the pivot for this epic tale of migration, settlement, survival, slavery and the making of the Americas. As it grew, the sugar trade enriched Europe as never before, financing the Industrial Revolution and fuelling the Enlightenment. And, as well, it became the basis of many economies in South America, played an important part in the evolution of the United States as a world power and transformed the Caribbean into an archipelago of riches. But this sweet and hugely profitable trade--"white gold," as it was known--had profoundly less palatable consequences in its precipitation of the enslavement of Africans to work the fields on the islands and, ultimately, throughout the American continents. Interspersing the tectonic shifts of colonial history with her family's experience, Stuart explores the interconnected themes of settlement, sugar and slavery with extraordinary subtlety and sensitivity. In examining how these forces shaped her own family--its genealogy, intimate relationships, circumstances of birth, varying hues of skin--she illuminates how her family, among millions of others like it, in turn transformed the society in which they lived, and how that interchange continues to this day. Shifting between personal and global history, Stuart gives us a deepened understanding of the connections between continents, between black and white, between men and women, between the free and the enslaved. It is a story brought to life with riveting and unparalleled immediacy, a story of fundamental importance to the making of our world.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

"Did African-American Slaves Rebel?"

Henry Louis Gates considers the five greatest slave rebellions in the United States in conversation with Donald Yacovone and their forthcoming companion book to the PBS series, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. The rebellions included are:
1. Stono Rebellion, 1739
2. The New York City Conspiracy of 1741
3. Gabriel’s Conspiracy, 1800
4. German Coast Uprising, 1811
5. Nat Turner’s Rebellion, 1831

Eric Williams

Capitalism and Slavery

Slavery helped finance the Industrial Revolution in England. Plantation owners, shipbuilders, and merchants connected with the slave trade accumulated vast fortunes that established banks and heavy industry in Europe and expanded the reach of capitalism worldwide. Eric Williams advanced these powerful ideas in Capitalism and Slavery, published in 1944. Years ahead of its time, his profound critique became the foundation for studies of imperialism and economic development. Binding an economic view of history with strong moral argument, Williams's study of the role of slavery in financing the Industrial Revolution refuted traditional ideas of economic and moral progress and firmly established the centrality of the African slave trade in European economic development. He also showed that mature industrial capitalism in turn helped destroy the slave system. Establishing the exploitation of commercial capitalism and its link to racial attitudes, Williams employed a historicist vision that set the tone for future studies. In a new introduction, Colin Palmer assesses the lasting impact of Williams's groundbreaking work and analyzes the heated scholarly debates it generated when it first appeared.

Ava DuVernay

13th

In this thought-provoking documentary, scholars, activists and politicians analyze the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom.

Frederick Douglass

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave

Former slave, impassioned abolitionist, brilliant writer, newspaper editor and eloquent orator whose speeches fired the abolitionist cause, Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) led an astounding life. Physical abuse, deprivation and tragedy plagued his early years, yet through sheer force of character he was able to overcome these obstacles to become a leading spokesman for his people. In this, the first and most frequently read of his three autobiographies, Douglass provides graphic descriptions of his childhood and horrifying experiences as a slave as well as a harrowing record of his dramatic escape to the North and eventual freedom. Published in 1845 to quell doubts about his origins -- since few slaves of that period could write -- the Narrative is admired today for its extraordinary passion, sensitive and vivid descriptions and storytelling power. It belongs in the library of anyone interested in African-American history and the life of one of the country's most courageous and influential champions of civil rights.

Library of Congress

Virginia Colonial Records

*The Virginia Manuscripts in the Library of Congress are contained
in sixteen volumes, and a number of unbound broadsides, letters, &c.
All of the volumes, with the possible exception of the Council journal
I698-1700, were boutght with Jefferson's library. Part of the earlier pa-
pers were in bad condition, and have been excellently repaired.
All wio are interested in Virginia history, or indeed that of the Col-
onies in general, are under obligation to the Library of Congress for the
interest taken in these old records, and for the most generous way in
which students are given facilities to study them. The noble work of
the Library in the publication of the Minutes of the London Company,
and many other doctuments relating to Virginia during the era of the
Company, is, next to Hening's Statutes at Large, the greatest work
which has been done in publishing the souirces of our history.

Octavia E. Butler; John Jennings (Illustrator); Damian Duffy (Adapted by); Nnedi Okorafor (Introduction by)

Kindred: a Graphic Novel Adaptation

#1 New York Times Bestseller Winner of the 2018 Eisner Award for Best Adaptation from Another Medium Octavia E. Butler's bestselling literary science-fiction masterpiece, Kindred, now in graphic novel format. More than 35 years after its release, Kindred continues to draw in new readers with its deep exploration of the violence and loss of humanity caused by slavery in the United States, and its complex and lasting impact on the present day. Adapted by celebrated academics and comics artists Damian Duffy and John Jennings, this graphic novel powerfully renders Butler's mysterious and moving story, which spans racial and gender divides in the antebellum South through the 20th century. Butler's most celebrated, critically acclaimed work tells the story of Dana, a young black woman who is suddenly and inexplicably transported from her home in 1970s California to the pre-Civil War South. As she time-travels between worlds, one in which she is a free woman and one where she is part of her own complicated familial history on a southern plantation, she becomes frighteningly entangled in the lives of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder and one of Dana's own ancestors, and the many people who are enslaved by him. Held up as an essential work in feminist, science-fiction, and fantasy genres, as well as a cornerstone of the Afrofuturism movement, the intersectionality of race, history, and the treatment of women addressed in the book still remain critical topics in contemporary dialogue, both in the classroom and in the public sphere. Frightening, compelling, and richly imagined, Kindred offers an unflinching look at our complicated social history, transformed by the graphic novel format into a visually stunning work for a new generation of readers.

Elizabeth Keckley

Behind the Scenes or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House

An autobiographical narrative, Behind the Scenes traces Elizabeth Keckley's life from her enslavement in Virginia and North Carolina to her time as seamstress to Mary Todd Lincoln in the White House during Abraham Lincoln's administration. It was quite controversial at the time of its release--an uncompromising work that transgressed Victorian boundaries between public and private life, and lines of race, gender, and society. Keckley's first 30 years were spent as a slave, and the cruelties and injustices of her life are related clearly and succinctly. This enlightening memoir recounts how she was beaten and how she became a dressmaker to support her master and his family, how determined she was to purchase freedom for herself and her son, how her friends in St. Louis came to her aid, how she became Mary Todd Lincoln's dressmaker and close friend, and her perspectives and experiences from her inside view of Lincoln's White House. Keckley emerges as a calm and confident person who speaks of a very tumultuous period of American history.

Herbert Aptheker; John H. Bracey (Foreword by)

American Negro Slave Revolts

A pioneering work that demolished the widespread claims that African Americans accepted slavery and were passive. Exposed the true nature of slavery.

Mary Prince

The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave Narrative

'I have been a slave - I have felt what a slave feels, and I know what a slave knows . . . ' Mary Prince recalls that in the slave market in Bermuda, where she was put up for sale, the buyers' talk 'fell like cayenne pepper into the fresh wounds of our hearts'. During her life as a slave she was taken from Bermuda to Turks Island and Antigua, eventually arriving in London where, in 1828, she reported the cruelty of her master and mistress to the Anti-Slavery Society. The History of Mary Prince (1831) was the first life of a black woman to be published in Britain. This extraordinary testament of ill-treatment and survival was a protest and a rallying-cry for emancipation that provoked two libel actions and ran into 3 editions in the year of its publication. This edition includes an introduction which discusses The History within the context of black writing, explanatory notes, a chronology, and supplementary material on enslavement and the case of Mary Prince.

J. A. Rogers; Helga Rogers

100 Amazing Facts about the Negro with Complete Proof

Classic collection of black history and trivia -- First published in 1934 and revised in 1962, this book gathers journalist and historian Joel Augustus Rogers' columns from the syndicated newspaper feature titled Your History. Patterned after the look of Ripley's popular Believe It or Not the multiple vignettes in each episode recount short items from Rogers's research. The feature began in the Pittsburgh Courier in November 1934 and ran through the 1960s. Rogers identifies 33 enslaved revolts, including Nat Turner’s in this collection.

Solomon Northup

12 Years a Slave

Twelve Years a Slave is a memoir and slave narrative by Solomon Northup as told to and edited by David Wilson. Northup, a black man who was born free in New York, details his kidnapping in Washington, D.C., and subsequent sale into slavery. After having been kept in bondage for 12 years in Louisiana by various masters, Northup was able to write to friends and family in New York, who were in turn able to secure his release. Northup's account provides extensive details on the slave markets in Washington, D.C., and New Orleans and describes at length cotton and sugar cultivation on major plantations in Louisiana.

Fred D'Aguiar

Feeding the Ghosts

A literary venture into the economic shadow that slavery cast, Feeding the Ghosts, based on a true story, lays bare the raw business of the slave trade. The Zong, a slave ship packed with captive African "stock," is headed to the New World. When illness threatens to disable all on board and cut potential profits, the ship's captain orders his crew to throw the sick into the ocean. After being hurled overboard, Mintah, a young female slave taken from a Danish mission, is able to climb back onto the ship. From her hiding place, she rouses the remaining slaves to rebel and stirs unease among the crew with a voice and conscience they seem unable to silence. Mintah's courage and others' reactions to it unfold in a suspenseful story of the struggle to live even when threatened by oblivion.

Harriet E. Wilson

Our Nig; or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black

Our Nig is an autobiographical narrative that stands as one of the most important accounts of the life of a black woman in the antebellum North. In the story of Frado, a spirited black girl who is abused and overworked as the indentured servant to a New England family, Harriet E. Wilson tells a heartbreaking story about the resilience of the human spirit. This edition incorporates new research showing that Wilson was not only a pioneering African-American literary figure but also an entrepreneur in the black women's hair care market fifty years before Madame C. J. Walker's hair care empire made her the country's first woman millionaire.

Phyllis Wheatley

The Poems of Phyllis Wheatley

Born in Africa in 1753, Phillis Wheatley was kidnapped at the age of 7 and sold into slavery. At 19, she became the first black American poet to publish a book, on which this volume is based. Wheatley's elegies and odes offer fascinating glimpses into the origins of African-American literary traditions.

Christina Sharpe

"The Weather"

Slavery suffuses our present-day environment in an afterlife called the weather. An excerpt from In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, Duke University Press, November 2016.

bottom of page