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Horatio Gates, Samuel Washington, and America’s Original Sin
July 28, 2015

By Julia Lipkins, Reference Archivist, Manuscripts Department. Archival collections from the Revolutionary War period are thick with stories of heroic soldiers and their battles won and lost. Although less evident, collections of this era also contain documentation of what President Obama describes as the “nation’s original sin,”[i] i.e. the institution of slavery. I recently examined the papers…

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American emancipation or African colonization: Juneteenth, Paul Cuffe and “the society of people of colour”
June 17, 2015

This post was written by Julita Braxton, AHMC Cataloger. On June 19, 1865, two and a half years after Lincoln granted freedom to all persons enslaved within rebellious states through the issue of the Emancipation Proclamation, word finally reached Galveston, Texas. It was on this date that Union soldiers brought news that the war had…

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“Rank Abolitionists”: a New Yorker Responds to Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin
February 25, 2015

On September 22, 1852, New York dry goods merchant Edward Neufville Tailer sat down to record his latest diary entry as he did religiously from 1848 until very nearly the day of his death in 1917. On this particular occasion he reflected on his reading of one of the most famous American literary works, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, published…

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Generations a Slave: Unlawful Bondage and Charles Carroll of Carrollton
January 15, 2014

This post was written by Julita Braxton, EBSCO Project Cataloger Challenges to the legality of bondage, shown in acclaimed director Steve McQueen’s film 12 Years a Slave—which won the Best Picture for Drama at the Golden Globes on Sunday night—are not without precedence, as evidenced by a document held in the manuscript collections of the…

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“Are and henceforward shall be free”: Marking the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation
January 2, 2013

If you’ve been preoccupied with the “fiscal cliff” saga over the last several days, you may have missed a rather significant milestone. 150 years ago yesterday, on January 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in all rebellious states, enacting what has been described as, behind the Declaration of the United States, perhaps “the single…

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Before Rosa Parks: Taking on New York’s Segregated Street Car Companies
July 18, 2012

Post written by Eric Robinson  So much has been written about the struggle against slavery and segregation in the American south that it is easy to forget that race relations in the north have been just as knotty. It is comparatively unknown that nineteenth-century New York City’s public transportation systems were racially segregated: African-Americans were…

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