Slavery in America
People enslaved Africans for their enforced labor from before America's founding until the end of the Civil War. Learn about the history of slavery, its effects on a budding nation, and the fight to abolish it.
Fugitive Slave Act of 1793
The United States Congress
The Fugitive Slave Act granted slave owners the right to recover their run-away slaves.
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: Excerpts from Chapters 1 & 7
While he was enslaved, Frederick Douglass taught himself to read and write.
What Slaves Are Taught To Think of The North
Harriet Ann Jacobs
In this chapter, Jacobs describes the lies that slave holders told their slaves about life in the free North.
What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?
The famous ex-slave and abolitionist points out the hypocrisy of "the home of the free" on Independence Day.
Olaudah Equiano Recalls the Middle Passage
Former slave and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano remembers his brutal voyage across the Atlantic to Barbados as a newly captured slave.
Speech on Slavery
Lincoln makes a case for free labor over "the great curse" of slavery.
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: Excerpt from Chapter 11
In chapter 11, Douglass describes his escape from slavery, and the challenges he faced upon becoming a free man.
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: Excerpt from Chapter 1
In this excerpt from his autobiography, Douglass describes the horrifying abuse of Aunt Hester by the slave master.
On Being Brought from Africa to America
A woman describes being brought to America from Africa as a slave and the impact of the experience on her religious beliefs.
Life of a Slave on a Southern Plantation
The United States’ history of owning slaves in the South to work on plantations is discussed.
The Underground Railroad
This informational text provides a brief overview on the history and the impact of the Underground Railroad.
Letter from Frederick Douglass to Harriet Tubman
Frederick Douglass writes a letter to Harriet Tubman praising her work in the abolitionist movement.
The Revolutionary Rise of Abolitionists
The views and actions of Abolitionists evolved significantly from the time of the Revolutionary War to the Civil War.
Abolishing Slavery: The Efforts of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln
This informational text discusses Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln’s relationship as they both worked towards abolishing slavery.
Frederick Douglass: A Biography
National Park Service
This biography of Frederick Douglass provides an overview of his life and work as an abolitionist.
Margaret Garner: Defying the Fugitive Slave Act
Abolitionist Levi Coffin recounts the story of Margaret Garner, a fugitive slave who killed her children rather than see them returned to slavery.
‘Why Sit Here and Die’ Speech
Maria W. Stewart
Maria W. Stewart speaks to the New England Anti-Slavery Society about the status and rights of African Americans.