This is a living document. If you have a source to add, please contact us using the form at the bottom of the page.
Local Libraries and Archives (Greater Boston Area)
- Boles, Richard J. People of Color Preliminary Finding Aid. Congregational Library & Archives, Boston, MA
Books on New England Slavery and African/African-American Communities
- Carretta, Vincent. Phillis Wheatley: Biography of a Genius in Bondage (University of Georgia Press, 2011) Boston Public Library Catalog Link
- Chan, Alexandra A. Slavery in the Age of Reason: Archaeology at a New England Farm (University of Tennessee Press, 2007) Boston Public Library Catalog Link
- Cromwell, Adelaide M. The Other Brahmins: Boston’s Black Upper Class, 1750-1950 (University of Arkansas Press, 1994) Boston Public Library Catalog Link
- Farrow, Anne, Joel Lang and Jenifer Frank. Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery (Ballantine Books, 2005) Boston Public Library Catalog Link
- Gerzina,Gretchen Holbrook. Mr. and Mrs. Prince: How an Extraordinary Eighteenth-Century Family Moved Out of Slavery and into Legend (Harper Collins, 2009)Boston Public Library Catalog Link Also available as an ebook
- Greene, Lorenzo. The Negro in Colonial New England (Columbia University Press, 1942)Boston Public Library Catalog Link
- Horton, James Oliver. Black Bostonians: Family Life and Community Struggle in the Antebellum North (Holmes & Meier, 1979) Boston Public Library Catalog Link
- Lemire, Elise. Black Walden: Slavery and Its Aftermath in Concord, Massachusetts (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009) Boston Public Library Catalog Link Also available as an ebook
- Melish, Joanne Pope. Disowning Slavery: Gradual Emancipation and “Race” in New England, 1780–1860 (Cornell University Press, 1998) Boston Public Library Catalog Link
- Wilder, Craig Steven. Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities (Bloomsbury 2014) Boston Public Library Catalog Link Also available as an ebook
General Books on the Middle Passage, Slavery, and Abolition
- Baptist, Edward E. The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (Basic Books, 2014) Boston Public Library Catalog Link
- Diouf, Sylviane A. Fighting the Slave Trade: West African Strategies (Ohio University Press, 2003) Boston Public Library Catalog Link
- Johnson,Walter. River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom (Harvard University Press, 2013) Boston Public Library Catalog Link
- Potkay, Adam and Sandra Burr, editors. Black Atlantic Writers of the Eighteenth Century: Living the New Exodus in England and the Americas (Palgrave Macmillan, 1995) Boston Public Library Catalog Link
- Stephanie,Stephanie E. Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora (Harvard University Press 2008) Boston Public Library Catalog Link
- Browne, Katrina, Producer/Director. Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North (Ebb Pod Productions, LLC, 2008) Boston Public Library Catalog Link
- Richardson, Judy, Producer. Slave Catchers, Slave Resisters (A&E; distributed by New Video: 2005) Boston Public Library Catalog Link
Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project, Inc.
Slavery in Massachusetts:
- Beckert, Sven, Katherine Stevens, and the students of the Harvard and Slavery Research Seminar. Harvard and Slavery: Seeking a Forgotten History (2011)
- Boston National Historical Park. “Lesson Plan: Patriots of Color at the Battle of Bunker Hill“
- Hall, Robert L. (Northeastern U) “Boston’s African American Heritage.” Footnotes: The Newsletter of the American Sociological Association (March 2008)
- Harper, Douglas. “Slavery in Massachusetts.” Slavery in the North. Online Resource (2003)
- Massachusetts Historical Society “African Americans and the End of Slavery in Massachusetts” Online Exhibit
- Mass Moments “First Slaves Arrives in Massachusetts Feb 26, 1638” Online Educational Resource (K-12)
Slavery in New England
- Rhode Island Historical Society 2011 NEH Summer Institute, “The Role of Slavery in New England Commerce, Industry, and Culture to 1860.” (2011)
- This also included video interviews. Ex. Joanne Pope Melish (U of Kentucky, author of Disowning Slavery)
- The Choices Program. “Slave Trade A Forgotten History: The Slave Trade and Slavery in New England Second edition” Print Educational Resource created by RIHS and Brown during NEH Summer Institute
- Rhode Island Historical Society. Lesson Plans: Slavery, Citizenship and Civil Rights Documenting Rhode Island’s People of Color
- Carocci, Max. “Written Out of History: Contemporary Native American Narratives of Enslavement.” Anthropology Today 25, no. 2 (April 2009): 15–20.
- Tracing Center. “Public History Programs: Resources for Interpreting Slavery.” (Accessed 13 May 2015).
- Yale Gilder Lehrman Center. “Remembering and Interpreting Northern Slavery.” End Slavery Now (blog) 25 September 2014
- Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice (Brown University).Ships of Bondage and the Fight for Freedom (brochure for exhibit at Iziko Museum in South Africa):
- Focuses on slave insurrections on three vessels including The Amistad, The Meermin, and The Sally
- John Carter Brown Library online exhibit: Slavery and Justice:
- New York Historical Society, Slavery in New York (2005-2006)
Digital History Projects:
- Slave Biographies Atlantic Database Network (Michigan State University)
- Landscapes of Slavery (University of Maryland)
- Lincoln Mullen’s Map of the Spread of US Slavery 1790-1860
- Legacies of British Slave Ownership (University College London)
- Voyages: Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database (Emory University)
Resources on the Amistad
In 1839, while en route between Cuban ports to sell enslave Africans, the Spanish vessel, La Amistad (“Friendship”), the captives revolted and overtook the ship. Seeking water and supplies, they dropped anchor near Long Island and were captured by the USS Washington. Although seized near New York, the Washington’s commander, Lieutenant Thomas R. Gedney, put in his claim of ownership under salvage laws for the Amistad’s holdings (including its human cargo), in Connecticut. New York’s plan of gradual emancipation (freeing all slaves born before July 4, 1799, while indenturing all children born afterwards as unpaid laborers until 25, if female, and 28, if male) they recognized 1827 as their year of final emancipation. In Connecticut, however, slavery was still legal.
The resulting case, United States v. The Amistad (1841), resulted in the freeing of the Africans on the ship, on the basis that their kidnapping and enslavement was illegal under the laws and treaties against the international slave trade, put in place by Great Britian, Spain, and the U.S. For more on the mixed record of U.S. and U.K. enforcement of those, see a guest post on this site by Northeastern University Public History graduate students, Cameron Boutin and Jordan Barnes.
For those in New England, there are multiple sites related to the ship and the case. A replica of the Amistad is docked at New Haven’s Long Wharf, and is part of the Connecticut Freedom Trail. The National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places includes a list of sites related to the ship and the 1839 trail in its online exhibit Amistad: Seeking Freedom in Connecticut.
Other resources include:
- Rediker, Marcus. The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom (Verso 2012).
- Buba, Tony (director). Ghosts of the Amistad: In the Footsteps of the Rebels. University of Pittsburg, 2014.
This film is a continuation of Rediker’s research from his 2012 book.
You can hear him discuss both these works in his 2013 Debra L. Lee Lecture on Slavery and Justice at Brown University’s Center for the study of Slavery and Justice: “The African Origins of the Amistad Rebellion”
- The National Archives includes the Amistad case in its “Teaching with Documents” resources. For more documents on U.S. slavery, see its section on “The Slave Trade.”
- Ships of Bondage and the Fight for Freedom (brochure for exhibit at Iziko Museum in South Africa enter for the Study of Slavery.
This exhibit on slave insurrections focuses on three vessels, including The Amistad, and was organized by the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice at Brown University. For more on the exhibit, see the CSSJ’s site.