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UMass Lowell Library Resources on Racism in the United States

Slavery and the North

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Slavery Books

Never Caught

A startling and eye-opening look into America's First Family, Never Caught is the powerful story about a daring woman of "extraordinary grit" (The Philadelphia Inquirer). When George Washington was elected president, he reluctantly left behind his beloved Mount Vernon to serve in Philadelphia, the temporary seat of the nation's capital. In setting up his household he brought along nine slaves, including Ona Judge. As the President grew accustomed to Northern ways, there was one change he couldn't abide: Pennsylvania law required enslaved people be set free after six months of residency in the state. Rather than comply, Washington decided to circumvent the law. Every six months he sent the slaves back down south just as the clock was about to expire. Though Ona Judge lived a life of relative comfort, she was denied freedom. So, when the opportunity presented itself one clear and pleasant spring day in Philadelphia, Judge left everything she knew to escape to New England. Yet freedom would not come without its costs. At just twenty-two-years-old, Ona became the subject of an intense manhunt led by George Washington, who used his political and personal contacts to recapture his property. "A crisp and compulsively readable feat of research and storytelling" (USA TODAY), historian and National Book Award finalist Erica Armstrong Dunbar weaves a powerful tale and offers fascinating new scholarship on how one young woman risked everything to gain freedom from the famous founding father.

Tyrannicide

Tyrannicide

Tyrannicide uses a captivating narrative to unpack the experiences of slavery and slave law in South Carolina and Massachusetts during the Revolutionary Era. In 1779, during the midst of the American Revolution, thirty-four South Carolina slaves escaped aboard a British privateer and survived several naval battles until the Massachusetts brig Tyrannicide led them to Massachusetts. Over the next four years, the slaves became the center of a legal dispute between the two states. The case affected slave law and highlighted the profound differences between how the "terrible institution" was practiced in the North and the South, in ways that would foreground issues eventually leading to the Civil War. Emily Blanck uses the Tyrannicide affair and the slaves involved as a lens through which to view contrasting slaveholding cultures and ideas of African American democracy. Blanck's examination of the debate analyzes crucial questions: How could the colonies unify when they viewed one of America's foundational institutions in fundamentally different ways? How would fugitive slaves be handled legally and ethically? Blanck shows how the legal and political battles that resulted from the affair reveal much about revolutionary ideals and states' rights at a time when notions of the New Republic-and philosophies about the unity of American states-were being created.

Between Slavery and Freedom

Using the writings of slaves and former slaves, as well as commentaries on slavery, Between Slavery and Freedom explores the American slave experience to gain a better understanding of six moral and political concepts--oppression, paternalism, resistance, political obligation, citizenship, and forgiveness. The authors use analytical philosophy as well as other disciplines to gain insight into the thinking of a group of people prevented from participating in the social/political discourse of their times. Between Slavery and Freedom rejects the notion that philosophers need not consider individual experience because philosophy is "impartial" and "universal." A philosopher should also take account of matters that are essentially perspectival, such as the slave experience. McGary and Lawson demonstrate the contribution of all human experience, including slave experiences, to the quest for human knowledge and understanding.

Brethren by Nature

In Brethren by Nature, Margaret Ellen Newell reveals a little-known aspect of American history: English colonists in New England enslaved thousands of Indians. Massachusetts became the first English colony to legalize slavery in 1641, and the colonists' desire for slaves shaped the major New England Indian wars, including the Pequot War of 1637, King Philip's War of 1675-76, and the northeastern Wabanaki conflicts of 1676-1749. When the wartime conquest of Indians ceased, New Englanders turned to the courts to get control of their labor, or imported Indians from Florida and the Carolinas, or simply claimed free Indians as slaves. Drawing on letters, diaries, newspapers, and court records, Newell recovers the slaves' own stories and shows how they influenced New England society in crucial ways. Indians lived in English homes, raised English children, and manned colonial armies, farms, and fleets, exposing their captors to Native religion, foods, and technology. Some achieved freedom and power in this new colonial culture, but others experienced violence, surveillance, and family separations. Newell also explains how slavery linked the fate of Africans and Indians. The trade in Indian captives connected New England to Caribbean and Atlantic slave economies. Indians labored on sugar plantations in Jamaica, tended fields in the Azores, and rowed English naval galleys in Tangier. Indian slaves outnumbered Africans within New England before 1700, but the balance soon shifted. Fearful of the growing African population, local governments stripped Indian and African servants and slaves of legal rights and personal freedoms. Nevertheless, because Indians remained a significant part of the slave population, the New England colonies did not adopt all of the rigid racial laws typical of slave societies in Virginia and Barbados. Newell finds that second- and third-generation Indian slaves fought their enslavement and claimed citizenship in cases that had implications for all enslaved peoples in eighteenth-century America.

Slavery, Resistance, Freedom

This extraordinary collection of essays by some of America's top historians focuses on how African Americans resisted slavery and responded to freedom. Ira Berlin sets the stage by stressing the relationship between how we understand slavery and how we discuss race today. The remaining essaysoffer a richly textured examination of black struggles for freedom. John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger recount actual cases of runaway slaves, their motivations for escape and the strains this widespread phenomenon put on white slave-owners. Edward L. Ayers, William G. Thomas III, and AnneSarah Rubin draw upon their remarkable Valley of the Shadow website to describe the wartime experiences of African Americans living on both borders of the Mason-Dixon line. And Eric Foner gives us a new look at how black leaders performed during the Reconstruction, revealing that they represented,for a time, the fulfillment of the American ideal that all people could aspire to political office.

Fugitive Justice

During the tumultuous decade before the Civil War, no issue was more divisive than the pursuit and return of fugitive slaves?a practice enforced under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. When free Blacks and their abolitionist allies intervened, prosecutions and trials inevitably followed. These cases involved high legal, political, and?most of all?human drama, with runaways desperate for freedom, their defenders seeking recourse to a ?higher law? and normally fair-minded judges (even some opposed to slavery) considering the disposition of human beings as property. Fugitive Justice tells the stories of three of the most dramatic fugitive slave trials of the 1850s, bringing to vivid life the determination of the fugitives, the radical tactics of their rescuers, the brutal doggedness of the slavehunters, and the tortuous response of the federal courts. These cases underscore the crucial role that runaway slaves played in building the tensions that led to the Civil War, and they show us how ?civil disobedience? developed as a legal defense. As they unfold we can also see how such trials?whether of rescuers or of the slaves themselves?helped build the northern anti-slavery movement, even as they pushed southern firebrands closer to secession. How could something so evil be treated so routinely by just men? The answer says much about how deeply the institution of slavery had penetrated American life even in free states. Fugitive Justice powerfully illuminates this painful episode in American history, and its role in the nation's inexorable march to war.

Lincoln's Defense of Politics

Abraham Lincoln is chiefly remembered for two historic achievements: he freed the slaves, and he saved the Union. That Lincoln did these things is not controversial. What is controversial is the connection between the moral and constitutional aspects of these achievements. Lincoln refused to see pro-Union and antislavery principles as exclusive, and thus he would not uphold one set of principles to the exclusion of the other or allow one to serve in the other's place. Lincoln's opponents of the time denied these connections. They felt obliged to take sides and to choose between morality and the law. In Lincoln's Defense of Politics, Thomas E. Schneider examines six key figures from among the two groups that were Lincoln's opponents: the states' rights constitutionalists--Alexander H. Stephens, John C. Calhoun, and George Fitzhugh--and the abolitionists--Henry David Thoreau, William Lloyd Garrison, and Frederick Douglass. Lincoln differed from both groups in his political attitude toward the question of slavery. He made it clear that he regarded his own approach as more comprehensive than the more narrowly focused constitutional and moral ones favored by his opponents. Schneider uses the men from each of these groups to illustrate the broad significance of the slavery question and to shed light upon the importance of political considerations in public decision making. Secession and war deprived Abraham Lincoln of the opportunity to demonstrate to the South that while he was opposed to any further extension of slavery, he bore no feelings of ill will toward the southern people. Lincoln did not expect southerners to concur with his party's view of slavery as morally wrong, but he called on them as "national men" to consider whether sectional harmony was likely to be restored on any basis other than the one proposed by the Republicans. Slavery, he believed, was the only thing that could threaten the integrity of the nation. Lincoln's Defense of Politics is not primarily a work of history but a consideration of historical alternatives on their merits. It addresses itself to a question of perennial interest and significance: what is the nature and value of politics? Political theorists as well as students and scholars of American political thought will find this work of particular importance.

Up from Slavery

Booker T. Washington's classic memoir of enslavement, emancipation, and community advancement in the Reconstruction Era.   Born into slavery on a tobacco farm in nineteenth-century Virginia, Booker T. Washington became one of the most powerful intellectuals of the Reconstruction Era. As president of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, he advocated for the advancement of African Americans through education and entrepreneurship. In Up from Slavery, Washington speaks frankly and honestly about his enslavement and emancipation, struggle to receive an education, and life's work as an educator.   In great detail, Washington describes establishing the Tuskegee Institute, from teaching its first classes in a hen house to building a prominent institution through community organization and a national fundraising campaign. He also addresses major issues of the era, such as the Jim Crow laws, Ku Klux Klan, and "false foundation" of Reconstruction policy.   Up From Slavery is based on biographical articles written for the Christian newspaper Outlook and includes the full text of Washington's revolutionary Atlanta Exposition address. First published in 1901, this powerful autobiography remains a landmark of African American literature as well as an important firsthand account of post-Civil War American history.   This ebook has been professionally proofread to ensure accuracy and readability on all devices.

Final Freedom

This book examines emancipation after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. Focusing on the making and meaning of the Thirteenth Amendment, Final Freedom looks at the struggle among legal thinkers, politicians, and ordinary Americans in the North and the border states to find a way to abolish slavery that would overcome the inadequacies of the Emancipation Proclamation. The book tells the dramatic story of the creation of a constitutional amendment and reveals an unprecedented transformation in American race relations, politics, and constitutional thought. Using a wide array of archival and published sources, Professor Vorenberg argues that the crucial consideration of emancipation occurred after, not before, the Emancipation Proclamation; that the debate over final freedom was shaped by a level of volatility in party politics underestimated by prior historians; and that the abolition of slavery by constitutional amendment represented a novel method of reform that transformed attitudes toward the Constitution.

Reparations: Pro and Con

Today, the debate over reparations--whether African-Americans should be compensated for decades of racial subjugation--stands as the most racially divisive issue in American politics. In this short, definitive work, Alfred L. Brophy, a leading expert on racial violence, traces the reparations issue from the 1820s to the present in order to assess the arguments on both sides of the current debate. Taking us inside litigation and legislatures past and present; examining failed and successful lawsuits; and exploring reparations actions by legislatures, newspapers, schools, businesses, and truth commissions, this book offers a valuable historical and legal perspective for reparations advocates and critics alike. "A book about reparations and its contentious qualities that is a must-read for all. If you want to know the essence of the debate, this book is for you." --Charles K. Ogletree, Jr., Harvard Law School

They Left Great Marks on Me

Well after slavery was abolished, its legacy of violence left deep wounds on African Americans’ bodies, minds, and lives. For many victims and witnesses of the assaults, rapes, murders, nightrides, lynchings, and other bloody acts that followed, the suffering this violence engendered was at once too painful to put into words yet too horrible to suppress. nbsp; In this evocative and deeply moving history Kidada Williams examines African Americans’ testimonies about racial violence. By using both oral and print culture to testify about violence, victims and witnesses hoped they would be able to graphically disseminate enough knowledge about its occurrence and inspire Americans to take action to end it. In the process of testifying, these people created a vernacular history of the violence they endured and witnessed, as well as the identities that grew from the experience of violence. This history fostered an oppositional consciousness to racial violence that inspired African Americans to form and support campaigns to end violence. The resulting crusades against racial violence became one of the political training grounds for the civil rights movement.

The Price for Their Pound of Flesh

Groundbreaking look at slaves as commodities through every phase of life, from birth to death and beyond, in early America In life and in death, slaves were commodities, their monetary value assigned based on their age, gender, health, and the demands of the market. The Price for Their Pound of Fleshis the first book to explore the economic value of enslaved people through every phase of their lives-including preconception, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, the senior years, and death-in the early American domestic slave trade. Covering the full "life cycle," historian Daina Ramey Berry shows the lengths to which enslavers would go to maximize profits and protect their investments. Illuminating "ghost values" or the prices placed on dead enslaved people, Berry explores the little-known domestic cadaver trade and traces the illicit sales of dead bodies to medical schools. This book is the culmination of more than ten years of Berry's exhaustive research on enslaved values, drawing on data unearthed from sources such as slave-trading records, insurance policies, cemetery records, and life insurance policies. Writing with sensitivity and depth, she resurrects the voices of the enslaved and provides a rare window into enslaved peoples' experiences and thoughts, revealing how enslaved people recalled and responded to being appraised, bartered, and sold throughout the course of their lives. Reaching out from these pages, they compel the reader to bear witness to their stories, to see them as human beings, not merely commodities. A profoundly humane look at an inhumane institution, The Price for Their Pound of Fleshwill have a major impact how we think about slavery, reparations, capitalism, nineteenth-century medical education, and the value of life and death.