NARA: Confederate Slave Payrolls Shed Light on Lives of 19th Century African American Families. “They are single lines, often with no last name, on paper yellowed but legible after 155 years, among thousands scrawled in loping letters that make up nearly 6,000 Confederate Slave Payroll records, a trove of Civil War documents digitized for the first time by National Archives staff in a multiyear project that concluded in January. For years, the Confederate Army required owners to loan their slaves to the military. From Virginia to Florida, the enslaved conscripts were forced to dig trenches and work at ordnance factories and arsenals, mine potassium nitrate to create gunpowder, or shore up forts.”
Mississippi State University: Celebrating Black History: MSU Libraries to digitize records of enslaved Mississippians for the first time. “This undertaking compiles a wealth of 19th-century documents from across the South and, upon completion, will provide a fully text-searchable, indexed collection containing digital images of original documents that include individuals’ names and detailed physical descriptions. Primarily inspired by patron need, the project is based on a similar effort at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture called ‘Unknown No Longer.'”
Rhino Times: UNCG, A&T And Deeds Office Shed Light On Slave Trade History. “A few years ago, the Guilford County Register of Deeds office created a lot of excitement among historians and others interested in early Guilford County, by creating an online database of slave deeds that documented the sell of people rather than property. As an extension of that project, the Register of Deeds Office is now partnering with NC A&T State University’s History/Political Science Department and UNC-Greensboro’s People Not Property project to present a weekly community video interview series on ‘The Slave Deeds of Guilford County.'”
University of Nottingham: Major new database reveals slavery is still not illegal in half the world’s countries. “A new global review of antislavery legislation has busted a popular misconception that slavery is now illegal in every country in the world. The Antislavery in Domestic Legislation Database has been compiled over the past five years and is launched today at the United Nations headquarters by the University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab in partnership with the Castan Centre for Human Rights (Monash University, Australia).”
WTOP: New digital project lays bare history of slavery around the White House. “A new website initiative launched this week by the White House Historical Association takes an in-depth look into slavery around the nation’s capital. ‘Slavery in the President’s Neighborhood’ offers a comprehensive timeline and abundant resources on the enslaved people who built, worked for and lived around the White House.”
Next City: ‘People Not Property’ Aims to Create Statewide Database of Slave Deeds in North Carolina. “When Deshawn Elam started college at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, an Historically Black College (HBCU) in Greensboro, N.C., he thought he would become a history teacher. But life changed his plans. One of his first classes introduced Elam to digital archiving.”
EurekAlert: 3D slave ship model brings a harrowing story to life. “A 3D model of an 18th century slave ship, which captures the cramped, dirty and stifling conditions experienced by enslaved Africans, has been launched as a new digital teaching tool.”
Library of Congress: New: Omar Bin Said Story Map. “When the Library’s Omar Ibn Said Collection was put online earlier this year, the multi-national, multi-lingual story presented a challenge: How best to tell Said’s incredible journey? Born into wealth in an area known as Futa Toro (in modern-day Senegal) around 1770, he was an educated and respected man in his early 30s, a devout Muslim, when he was taken prisoner during a regional conflict and sold into slavery. He survived the middle passage in chains, was enslaved on a South Carolina plantation, escaped, but was recaptured in North Carolina. His eventual owners, a politically prominent family, treated him as a special case. He spent his last years as a well-regarded curiosity, often in touch with scholars. He died in 1863, still enslaved, during the Civil War.”
Barbados Government Information Service: Barbados Has Digital Runaway Slaves Collection. “The Department of Archives has partnered with the Early Caribbean Digital Archive (ECDA) at Northeastern University to create the Barbados Runaway Slaves Digital Collection. The collection is based on runaway advertisements in the recently digitized newspaper, The Barbados Mercury Gazette. It will provide a central location where Mercury advertisements are collected, a transcription platform, and other opportunities for the public, especially students, both in Barbados and abroad, to use the material in creative ways.”
Library of Virginia: Library Of Virginia And Virginia Museum Of History & Culture Merge Databases Of Records Of Enslaved Virginians. “The Virginia Museum of History & Culture (VMHC) and the Library of Virginia are cooperating to provide greater access to African American history and genealogy in Virginia. In early January of 2019, the VMHC’s Unknown No Longer project (over 500 documents containing nearly 12,000 names) was merged with the Library’s Virginia Untold: The African American Narrative (over 10,000 records with more than 100,000 names), providing researchers with unprecedented access to an expanded collection of resources on the history of enslaved and free African Americans in Virginia. The combined databases are now available through the Virginia Untold web page.”
Cornell University: Freedom on the Move launches database of fugitives from American slavery. “Freedom on the Move (FOTM), an online project devoted to fugitives from slavery in North America, is enlisting the help of the public to create a database for tens of thousands of advertisements placed by enslavers who wanted to recapture self-liberating Africans and African-Americans…. The free, open-source site has been designed to be accessible to the public. Users can quickly set up an account and begin working with digitized versions of the advertisements. Users transcribe the text of an advertisement and then answer questions about the ad and the person it describes. They can choose to transcribe ads from a particular state or specific time period, depending on their areas of interest.” I’m sure you’ve heard of this project before – it looks like I mentioned it in RB back in 2016 – but now it has officially launched.
The Kenyon Collegian: Digital archive features Gullah culture work. “As of this fall, Professor of American Studies Peter Rutkoff and Professor Emeritus of History Will Scott have published their extensive research on the Gullah culture. The project, which has developed over the course of two decades, is now publicly available via the Digital Kenyon archive. Gullah refers to a language, a people and a culture dating back to the middle of the 17th century. Today, only 6,000 Gullah speakers remain, most of whom live on St. Helena Island off the coast of South Carolina.” I can’t find the URL for the archive in the article – I may have missed it – anyway let me tell you it’s at https://digital.kenyon.edu/gullah/ .
Charleston Chronicle: Spiritual Wayfarers: New Lowcountry Digital History Initiative Exhibit Spotlights Lowcountry African Muslims. “The oft-overlooked experiences of the Lowcountry’s African Muslims are the subject of a new digital exhibit now freely available online. The exhibit—formally styled Enslaved and Freed African Muslims: Spiritual Wayfarers in the South and Lowcountry—documents more than three centuries of West African Muslims, from those forcibly brought to the Americas before the War of Independence to adherents of Islam in the Lowcountry today.”
The Scotsman: Black anti-slavery campaigners in Edinburgh traced. “A map which charts some of the hundreds of black campaigners, many of them former slaves, who came to Edinburgh to campaign for the abolitionist movement has been released.”
Black Perspectives: Enslaved People in Eighteenth-century Britain: An Interview with Nelson Mundell. “In today’s post, Keisha N. Blain, Senior Editor of Black Perspectives, interviews Nelson Mundell about the new online database, Runaway Slaves in Britain: Bondage, Freedom and Race in the Eighteenth Century. Mundell is a former History teacher with a MEd in Education and is finishing his history PhD thesis, ‘The Runaway Enslaved in Eighteenth-century Britain,’ at the University of Glasgow in Scotland.”