The American Slavery Collection


Eight Digital Collections for Teaching and Studying Black History

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Celebrate centuries of Black History this February—and all year long—with these eight digital resources for African American studies. Contribute to your own institution’s Black History observances by providing or promoting access to these acclaimed collections of primary sources available from Readex.


African Americans and Reconstruction: Hope and Struggle, 1865-1883

Providing the raw material of African-American history across nearly 20 crucial years, this database brings together many of the most significant printed materials by and about African Americans. Among them are overlooked works of fiction and poetry.

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African Americans and Jim Crow: Repression and Protest, 1883-1992

This collection captures voices of, by and about African Americans during a pivotal period of segregation and disenfranchisement, enabling students and scholars to easily uncover patterns of thought and compare points of view.

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Eight Digital Collections for Teaching and Studying Black History

Casting Light on the Bomb-Throwers: Revisiting Chicago’s 1886 Haymarket Riot and Its Social Fallout

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There’s an ironic twist in the contents of Chicago’s Sunday Inter Ocean newspaper for October 10, 1886, that wouldn’t have been apparent to its readers of that day. Much of the issue was devoted to transcribing the 5-1/2 hour courtroom speech of Albert Parsons, defending himself and seven of his anarchist compatriots against the death penalty for their alleged complicity in the Haymarket Riot of May 4, 1886.

The last act in the great anarchist drama was played yesterday, at least so far as Cook County is concerned. Only the curtain of the gallows needs to be rang down and the drama is ended. So, as the courtroom filled when the doors were opened at 9:45, the specter of death seemed to have entered before them. The vision of eight dangling forms seemed to fill the air with its unwholesome presence.

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Casting Light on the Bomb-Throwers: Revisiting Chicago’s 1886 Haymarket Riot and Its Social Fallout

Celebrating the Remarkable Life and Work of Frederick Douglass through America’s Historical Imprints

This year’s Black History Month marks 200 years since the birth of Frederick Douglass, one of the most influential Americans of the 19th century. While America’s Historical Newspapers includes The North Star, the forceful anti-slavery newspaper Douglass began publishing in Rochester, New York, in 1847, America’s Historical Imprints contains a wealth of primary source material recording, remembering, and celebrating his remarkable life and work.


 

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In his first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, found in Black Authors, 1556-1922: Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia, Frederick writes of his parents.

My mother was named Harriet Bailey. She was the daughter of Isaac and Betsey Bailey, both colored, and quite dark. My mother was of a darker complexion than either my grandmother or grandfather.

My father was a white man. He was admitted to be such by all I ever heard speak of my parentage. The opinion was also whispered that my master was my father; but of the correctness of this opinion, I know nothing; the means to knowing was withheld from me. My mother and I were separated when I was but an infant – before I knew her as my mother. It is a common custom, in the part of Maryland from which I ran away, to part children from their mothers at a very early age.

He continues, describing his relationship with his mother:

Celebrating the Remarkable Life and Work of Frederick Douglass through America’s Historical Imprints

Readex collection wins a Choice 2017 Outstanding Academic Title award!

The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society has been a named a 2017 Outstanding Academic Title by Choice, the review publication of the American College & Research Libraries division of ALA. The award is for excellence in presentation and scholarship, the significance of its contribution to the field, its originality and value as an essential treatment of its subject, and significance in building undergraduate collections.

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The award is based on Choice’s review of The American Slavery Collection, which appeared in its August 2017 issue.  Here’s an excerpt:

The American Slavery Collection…comprises more than 3,500 works held by the American Antiquarian Society among its vast collection of material….These credentials tell researchers that they are accessing the finest in peer-reviewed or expert-selected material. A number of developments in the study of popular culture in the last decade, including the intractable plague of racism still afflicting society, have again popularized the examination of slavery and leading students and scholars worldwide to pursue the truth about this ‘peculiar institution.’ Primary sources are always the most reliable for understanding the root causes of issues, and this new digital collection offers such resources as captivity narratives, memoirs, newspapers, photographs, pamphlets, and graphic materials.

Readex collection wins a Choice 2017 Outstanding Academic Title award!

Top Ten: The Most Popular Readex Blog Posts Published in 2016

Here are the most-read posts published on the Readex Blog during 2016:

180px-Hubbardton-Battlefield-Monument sm.jpg1. “My knees then smote one against the other”: Highlights from Supplement to Early American Imprints, Shaw-Shoemaker

This month’s release of new material in the Early American Imprints Supplement from the American Antiquarian Society includes a biographical account of a young American rebel who was wounded... More

Elmira%20barrel sm c2.jpg2. Captured! Firsthand Accounts of Prisoners of War from The American Civil War Collection

Opinions on prisoners of war and prisoner exchanges have dominated recent news cycles. The June release of The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922: From the American Antiquarian... More

Top Ten: The Most Popular Readex Blog Posts Published in 2016

‘Progressive and Arrogant Pretensions’: Highlights from The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922

The November release of The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society includes responses by three Southern senators to anti-slavery resolutions enacted in Vermont, a call for placing temperance and abolitionism above political party, and a speech by Charles Sumner on the “origin, necessity and permanence” of the Republican Party.


Remarks of Messrs. Clemens, Butler, and Jefferson Davis, on the Vermont Resolutions Relating to Slavery (1850)

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On January 10, 1850, Senators Jeremiah Clemens, Andrew Butler, and Jefferson Davis delivered speeches before the U.S. Senate responding to several anti-slavery resolutions passed by the Vermont General Assembly and presented to the U.S. Senate. The first resolution found:

That slavery is a crime against humanity, and a sore evil in the body politic, that was excused in the framers of the Federal Constitution as a crime entailed upon the country by their predecessors and tolerated solely as a thing of inexorable necessity.

The General Assembly further resolved to petition Vermont’s U.S. Senators to resist the extension of slavery to the territories. Senator Clemens began his remarks by explaining why he had not attempted to block a motion to print the resolutions:

‘Progressive and Arrogant Pretensions’: Highlights from The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922

“A common railer and brawler”: Highlights from The American Slavery Collection

The May release of The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society includes a document arguing that slavery enslaves the owners as well as the enslaved, written by a woman who had lived in the American South, an account of an abolitionist address that ends when the minister delivering it is arrested, and the affecting address to the court from a man found guilty of assisting a fugitive slave in making an escape. 


Influence of Slavery upon the White Population. By a Former Resident of Slave States (1855) 

This tract, published by American Anti-Slavery Society in 1855, was written by Louisa Jane Whiting Baker. She establishes her position at the outset:

A true understanding of the nature and influences of American slavery forces the conviction that this system renders the master no less a “victim” than the slave. The attractive elegances of social life may deceive the superficial observer; but a deeper insight will discover, under this light drapery, not only a world of secret misery, but of hideous corruption.

“A common railer and brawler”: Highlights from The American Slavery Collection

“A Blessing No Doubt”: Works of Parody and Satire in the Anti-Slavery Cause

The March release of The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society includes two works that employ parody and satire to counter the arguments of the pro-slavery faction in America in the 1830s. Also described below is the three-volume journal of an English abolitionist’s sojourn in the Antebellum United States. 


The Little Western against the Great Eastern: or Brother Jonathan vs. John Bull: Being a Review by a Plebeian of the Western Hemisphere of Abolitionism, as Exposed by Doctor Sleigh (1838)

The author, using the pen name Little Western, introduces his argument: 

In order to show what I want to refute, I must first show what the Doctor wants to prove. It becomes, therefore, necessary to copy his Title page, and here it is:

“A Blessing No Doubt”: Works of Parody and Satire in the Anti-Slavery Cause

Broadening History: A Conversation with Manisha Sinha (VIDEO)

Readex recently sat down with Manisha Sinha, Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Sinha discussed her extensive new history of abolition and the importance of having access to broad digital collections. She also offered valuable advice to students beginning a research project of their own. 

For more information about The American Slavery Collection, Early American Newspapers or African American Newspapers, please contact readexmarketing@readex.com.

Broadening History: A Conversation with Manisha Sinha (VIDEO)

“A Land under the Curse of Slavery”: Highlights from The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922

The February release of The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society includes letters of dissent from within the Presbyterian Church, a compilation of judicial biographies titled Atrocious Judges, and a reminder that America’s peculiar institution was not limited to the South. 


Slavery and the Church (1856)  

By Smectymnuus 

Writing under the pseudonym Smectymnuus, the author rebuts arguments presented by the Reverends Nathan Lewis Rice and Nehemiah Adams. He explains “Smectymnuus” is derived from the initials of “the names of five Puritan Divines, who wrote a celebrated treatise in favor of their principles, under this title, in a period of persecution…” 

Alluding to his own potential persecution, the author justifies shielding his given name, noting:  

“A Land under the Curse of Slavery”: Highlights from The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922

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