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Slavery Resource Guide

Slave factories, or compounds, maintained by traders from four European nations on the Gulf of Guinea in what is now Nigeria
Slave factories, or compounds, maintained by traders from four European nations on the Gulf of Guinea in what is now Nigeria
1 engraving.
Illus. in: A New and general collection of voyages. G160.A85
[Rare Book RR] 1746.
Prints and Photographs Division.
Reproduction Number:

Related Resources

America's Library

America's Library is especially designed for elementary and middle school students. This site contains a wide variety of information related to civil rights.

Jump Back in Time

Stono's Rebellion, September 9, 1739

John C. Calhoun Was Born, March 18, 1782

Elijah Parish Lovejoy Was Killed By a Pro-slavery Mob, November 7, 1837

Uncle Tom's Cabin Appeared in Serial Form, June 5, 1851

The Largest Slave Auction, March 3, 1859

John Brown Took Harpers Ferry Hostage, October 16, 1859

Abolition in the District of Columbia, April 16, 1862

Meet Amazing Americans

George Washington Carver

Frederick Douglass

Harriet Tubman


African American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship

This exhibition showcases the incomparable African American collections of the Library of Congress. It displays more than 240 items, including books, government documents, manuscripts, maps, musical scores, plays, films, and recordings. It includes a section on slavery.

The African-American Mosaic: African-American Culture and History

This exhibit marks the publication of The African-American Mosaic: A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture. Covering the nearly 500 years of the black experience in the Western hemisphere, the Mosaic surveys the full range size, and variety of the Library's collections, including books, periodicals, prints, photographs, music, film, and recorded sound.

American Treasures of the Library of Congress - Abolition & Suffrage

View the multi-media Abolition and Suffrage exhibit from the Reason gallery, American Treasures of The Library of Congress.

American Treasures of the Library of Congress - Emancipation Proclamation

View the First draft of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Final version of the Emancipation Proclamation from the Top Treasures gallery, American Treasures of the Library of Congress.

Thomas Jefferson - Life and Labor at Monticello

This section of the exhibition highlights Jefferson's life at Monticello, which includes his lifelong adherence to the plantation-slave system of agriculture.

Mansucript Division

African-American History and Culture (from Library of Congress Manuscripts: An Illustrated Guide)

Explore treasures from the Manuscript Division’s Words and Deeds Collection. The Library's holdings include information about slavery and the slave trade as well as other aspects of plantation life. Papers of slaveholders provide one view of slavery and slave narratives another.

Prints and Photographs Division

Images of African-American Slavery and Freedom

Illustrations from the holdings of the Library of Congress on the subject of African-American slavery and freedom.

Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC)

The catalog contains catalog records and digital images representing a rich cross-section of still pictures held by the Prints & Photographs Division and other units of the Library. The Library of Congress offers broad public access to these materials as a contribution to education and scholarship. Find images of slavery, slaves, slave trade, slave quarters, freedmen, fugitive slaves, the abolition movement, and the underground railroad system.

Serial & Government Publications Division

Topics in Chronicling America

Chronicling America provides free access to millions of historic American newspaper pages. The Serial & Government Publications Division has created topic guides to newspapers in Chronicling America. Included on the topics page are guides for the Emancipation Proclamation, Fugitive Slave Ads, Pullman Porters, and the Raid on Harper's Ferry.

Teachers Page

Features and Activities

American Memory Timeline

A comprehensive look at America's history through primary sources. Explore documents relating to slavery during the National Expansion and Reform Era.

From Slavery to Civil Rights: A Timeline of African-American History

This interactive activity introduces African-American history through primary sources.


This feature presentation introduces teachers and students to the topic of Immigration. African immigration is included in the presentation.

Women's Words of Wisdom

Discover the wisdom shared by women from many walks of life through the years of America's past.

Lesson Plans

Slavery in the United States: Primary Sources and the Historical Record

This lesson introduces students to primary sources -- what they are, their great variety, and how they can be analyzed.

Virtual Programs and Services

Web Guides produced by the Digital Reference Section of the Library of Congress

African American Sites in the Digital Collections

This guide highlights contributions by African Americans to the arts, education, industry, literature, politics and much more as represented in the vast online collections of the Library.

Primary Documents in American History

This Web site provides links to materials in American history digitized from the collections of the Library of Congress that supplement and enhance the study of crucial documents. The site contains the following pages with resources related to the history of slavery.

Missouri Compromise (1820)

In an effort to preserve the balance of power in Congress between slave and free states, The Missouri Compromise was passed in 1820 admitting Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state.

Compromise of 1850 (1850)

The Compromise of 1850 consists of five laws passed in September of 1850 that dealt with the issue of slavery. In 1849 California requested permission to enter the Union as a free state, potentially upsetting the balance between the free and slave states in the U.S. Senate.

Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854)

The Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise, allowing slavery in the territory north of the 36° 30´ latitude. Introduced by Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois, the Kansas-Nebraska Act stipulated that the issue of slavery would be decided by the esidents of each territory, a concept known as popular sovereignty.

Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857)

The Supreme Court decision Dred Scott v. Sandford was issued on March 6, 1857. Delivered by Chief Justice Roger Taney, this opinion declared that slaves were not citizens of the United States and could not sue in Federal courts. In addition, this decision declared that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional and that ongress did not have the authority to prohibit slavery in the territories.

Emancipation Proclamation (1863)

Issued by Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation declared "all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free." Although the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery, it did change the basic character of the Civil War.

13th Amendment to the Constitution (1865)

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution declared that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude...shall exist within the United States." Formally abolishing slavery in the United States, the 13th Amendment was passed by the Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified by the states on December 6, 1865.

14th Amendment to the Constitution (1868)

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on July 28, 1868, and granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” which included former slaves recently freed. In addition, it forbids states from denying any person "life, liberty or property, without due process of law" or to "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of its laws."

15th Amendment to the Constitution (1870)

The 15th Amendment to the Constitution granted African American men the right to vote by declaring that the "right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." Although ratified on February 3, 1870, the promise of the 15th Amendment would not be fully realized for almost a century.


An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America

Historian Henry Wiencek discussed his book, which focuses on the life of Washington and explores early slavery in America.

Mary Neighbour: Speak Right On

Award-winning writer Mary E. Neighbour discussed Speak Right On, her novel about Dred Scott, the former slave at the heart of the 1857 decision, in a program sponsored by the Center for the Book.

Mirror to America: The Autobiography of John Hope Franklin

Historian John Hope Franklin discussed his new autobiography, Mirror to America: The Autobiography of John Hope Franklin. Franklin, who helped redirect the social and political course of the United States throughout the twentieth century, is the author and editor of seventeen books, including the best-selling From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans.

Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald Delivers Keynote Address for African American History Month

Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald delivered the 2007 African American History Month keynote address at the Library of Congress. The program also featured remarks by John Fleming, national president of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). ASALH's 2007 theme, "From Slavery to Freedom: Africans in the Americas," honors the work of black historian John Hope Franklin, who recently won the Library's Kluge Prize for lifetime achievement in the study of humanity.


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  January 30, 2018
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