EARLY ORIGINAL MAP OF AFRICA
- by Dutch
cartographer Willem Blaeu, c. 1640
TERRIBLE "MIDDLE PASSAGE" -
illustration from 1789 of a slave vessel's hold:
"Plan of an African Ship's lower deck, with Negroes in the proportion of not
quite one to a Ton."
1667 MANHATTAN LAND GRANT
-- Richard Nicolls, first British Governor of New York,
affirms and grants the transfer of a 1644 land parcel in Manhattan owned by recently deceased
Groote (Big) Manuel, a freed slave, to his wife and children "forever".
Manuel was one of the first eleven Blacks to land in New York (then New
Amsterdam) in 1626.
This document was featured in a
2005 episode of History Detectives
SLAVE MUTINY ON THE AMISTAD --The 1840
illustration showing the captive Africans
taking over the Spanish slaving vessel, "L'Amistad," in 1839--the surviving
blacks were eventually
freed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1841
JOHN BROWN INVADES HARPERS FERRY, (WEST) VIRGINIA -
On Oct. 16 & 17, 1859, radical abolitionist, John Brown, leading
black and white disciples,
seized the U.S. arsenal at Harpers Ferry, hoping to form a new
“State of Appalachia.” Brown’s idea was that blacks would rally to his
cause, and that the insurrection would soon spread throughout the nation, leading to
the total abolition of slavery in America. Brown and his men were soon surrounded, and
finally captured on the 18th by Federal troops under Col. Robt. E. Lee.
After a trial, John Brown was hung for treason on Dec. 2, 1859. His
martyrdom and the repercussions of his raid fired emotions, and heated
public debate in the North and South on the divisive issue of slavery.
EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT OF JOHN BROWN'S RAID ON HARPERS FERRY -
Prominent Harpers Ferry resident George
Koonce pens a four-page letter to Thomas W. Smith just one week after
John Brown seized the Federal arsenal in the town. In part,
Sunday night old John Brown of Kansas notoriety with...15 white men & 6
negroes, crossed the Potomac...came into H[arpers] Ferry, took possession of
the U.S. Musket factory, U.S. Arsenal & halls rifle factory...Capt Jno E
Cook took a small detachment, & proceeded to Lewis Washington farm, aroused
the negroes...awaked Mr. Washington, & told him that he must
surrender...told him they intended to liberate all the Slaves in the
1849 PUBLIC SALE OF ESTATE SLAVES IN MISSOURI
Broadside poster announcing the upcoming auction
CHEROKEE INDIAN SELLS HIS BLACK SLAVE
Here is written proof that certain Native American tribes owned
blacks as property in early America. Many Cherokees had settled next to
whites as farmers, and a large number owned African slaves which they
purchased and sold either privately or on the open market. In this
remarkable1803 handwritten document,
Lark Fox sells his slave Amos for the sum of $310.
"A SLAVE AUCTION AT THE SOUTH"
DURING THE CIVIL WAR
Auctions like this one usually resulted in the tragic breaking
apart of whole
families and scattering them all over the Deep South mostly headed for
Begun in the 18th century, this long-time practice was known as the
"Internal Slave Trade."
ORIGINAL AETNA SLAVE
INSURANCE POLICY (1859) -
Written to indemnify Dr. A.P. Pelzer, a Charleston, SC slaveowner in the
event his recently purchased male house servant ran away; and an Aetna
newspaper ad (above) offering "Negro Insurance"
SLAVE DEALER'S BUSINESS CARD (C. 1860)
NAT TURNER REBELLION IN VIRGINIA
Very rare firsthand account of the bloody 1831 slave revolt
DENMARK VESEY SLAVE INSURRECTION -
The complete report of the 1822 planned takeover of
Charleston, S.C., by Vesey and other blacks in the city. The elaborate plot was betrayed by
a house servant who panicked and informed his master.
SLAVE SHACKLES -
Original set of
Southern shackles c. 1850s
CHARLESTON SLAVE TAG -
designating a hired servant (1851)
THE INFAMOUS FUGITIVE SLAVE BILL
OF 1850 --
Exceedingly rare broadside printing of the Federal Act that allowed any claimants of
a runaway slave to take possession of
the escapee, who had no legal recourse whatsoever.
SCARCE COPY OF HARRIET
Sarah H. Bradford's 1869 book about Harriet Tubman, the
proceeds of which helped pay the mortgage on Tubman's Auburn, New York home.
Harriet Tubman (c. 1821-1913) was a fugitive slave, abolitionist, nurse,
Union spy, social reformer, and women's rights activist. Before the Civil
War, she made approximately nineteen trips back into the South to rescue
some 300 slaves from their bonds including her own parents
DOUGLASS (1818-1895) - The hard-to-find first autobiography (1845)
considered by many historians to be the greatest slave narrative ever
SOJOURNER TRUTH -
abolitionist, orator, and suffragette. Original 1864
"I sell the shadow to support the substance."
HARDSCRABBLE PLANTATION, LOUISIANA
(1859-1861) - A single leaf of a unique 60-page diary
of a slave overseer listing the daily work performed
by the field hands
HARDSCRABBLE PLANTATION, LOUISIANA (1859-1861) -
Another leaf of the diary of a slave overseer
listing the daily and weekly amount of
cotton picked by each named slave,
male and female. (Note occasional "Sick" days)
REWARD POSTER FOR A RUNAWAY SLAVE -
Alexandria, Virginia, May 30, 1825. 12" x 8 5/8.” A superb example,
boldly printed. Broadsides advertising for runaway slaves were usually
tacked or nailed to doors and walls in public places to alert the citizens
to be watchful for and to help apprehend escaped slaves..
CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA $100 NOTE WITH
VIGNETTE OF SLAVES HOEING IN THE FIELD - October 29,1862, Richmond, Va., Confederate States of America note in about uncirculated
condition. Printed on one side only, reverse blank. Obverse with vignettes
of John C. Calhoun, a father of State's Rights on left, slaves hoeing in the
field at the top center, and an allegorical representation of the
"Confederacy" as represented by Columbia. In the design of many Confederate
and state currencies, images of Negro slaves were sometimes used, invariably portrayed as content in their status,
depicted as well-clothed laborers toiling in the fields as this note clearly
THE NEW YORK HERALD OF JAN. 3, 1863,
PUBLISHES THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION - The Proclamation
states, in part: “That on the 1st day of January, A.D. 1863, all persons
held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State the people
whereof shall be in rebellion against the United States shall be then,
thenceforward, and forever free;...” Another portion of the document
declared that blacks could now serve in the U.S. military to garrison
forts and other places, and to man ships. A month later, the famed 54th
Massachusetts (Colored) Regiment was formed--the first Northern black
regiment of the Civil War.
ORIGINAL 1863 CURRIER & IVES LITHOGRAPH
COMMEMORATING PRESIDENT LINCOLN'S EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION -
print shows a black man with shackles removed crouching or being raised from
his knees, and kissing the left hand of Abraham Lincoln's while a black
woman and her two children watch. Former slaves
sometimes unashamedly did kneel before the President at which point Lincoln
himself would raise the person with the admonishment that the newly-freed slave
kneel to no one but God.
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