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Remembering Slavery: Testimonials After Emancipation

Some of the most powerful, poignant, and detailed records of formerly enslaved persons are first-person accounts collected in the pre- and post-emancipation eras.

These include private records - like family Bibles or letters shared between family members - as well as interviews of ex-slaves conducted decades later. All of these testimonies can help researchers to access the lives and voices of African Americans in slavery and the immediate post-emancipation era.

Fisk Jubilee Singers

Examples of records:

  • Narratives collected by Fisk University, the Virginia Writers Project, and the Works Progress Administration (WPA)

  • Oral histories collected by individual families and institutions

  • Information wanted/lost friends newspaper advertisements (Black Republican [New Orleans], Charleston (SC) Courier, Colored Citizen [Cincinnati], Free Man’s Press [Galveston, Texas], The Liberator [Boston], etc.)

  • Personal letter and diaries of formerly enslaved women, men and children.

Databases

Check this space for future updates!

 

Completed Databases

  • GU272 Descendants, 1785-2000

  • United States 1830 Census: Free Negro Heads of Families

Resources

GU272 Memory Project
Our project traces 8,000 of the descendants of the GU272, the more than 314 men, women, and children sold by Maryland’s Jesuit priests in 1838. Use this site to search for an ancestor and to hear the stories of the descendants, and access their family trees.

Lowcountry Digital Library
Supporting research about the Lowcountry region of South Carolina and historically interconnected sites in the Atlantic World.

Slave Manifests, Georgia State Archives

Slave Lists: Newton Plantation, Barbados, South Carolina

 

Four Families of St. Mary’s County by David Watson Kruger