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Abolition of Serfdom  

Alexander II

The defeat of Russia in the Crimean War (1853–1856) convinced the newly enthroned Alexander II (r. 1855–1881) of the need for fundamental reforms in his country. The first institution he ... More

Address to a Meeting in New York  

Malcolm X

The Black Muslims (or the Nation of Islam) were founded by an orthodox Muslim immigrant to America, Wallace Fard Muhammad, in 1931, and made into a powerful movement by Elijah Muhammad. ... More

Amulet containing passages from the Qur’an, worn by Muslim slaves who rioted in Bahia, Brazil  

João José Reis

Although slavery was not abolished in Brazil until 1888, slave revolts were frequent and remarkable for their ambitions, success, and diversity of participating elements. Two urban revolts ... More

“Black Consciousness and the Quest for a True Humanity”  

Steve Biko

Born in 1946 in South Africa, in the Eastern Cape, Steve Biko engaged in political activism at a very early age, which ultimately caused his permanent expulsion from public schooling. ... More

Documents Concerning the Slave Ship Sally, Rhode Island  


Rhode Islanders were the principal American slave traders during the eighteenth century, during which a total of approximately 1,000 slave-trading voyages set out from the colony to Africa. ... More

First Inaugural Address  

Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt

In 1860, Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865), the Republican party candidate from Illinois, won the presidential election without carrying a single southern state. Although he had worked his way up ... More

“I Have a Dream”  

Martin Luther King Jr.

Under the accelerating pressure of the American civil rights movement—and with images of African Americans being attacked and beaten as they demanded equality beaming across television ... More

The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano  

Olaudah Equiano

This autobiography of a slave who would emerge as a leading voice in the abolitionist cause has been enormously significant for understanding Atlantic slavery. Equiano claimed to have been ... More

The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano  

In 1789, Olaudah Equiano published his autobiography, titled The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa the African, written by himself. The title is most ... More

Letter of Nzinga Mbemba (Afonso I) of Kongo to the King of Portugal  

Nzinga Mbemba (Afonso I)

A Portuguese sailor came into contact with the Kingdom of Kongo, which occupied a vast territory along the Congo River in central Africa, in 1483. When he returned in 1491, he was ... More

Photograph of an enslaved Chinese coolie, Peru  


Chinese migration to Latin America was a major part of the pattern of mass migration streams across the world that typified the nineteenth century. “Coolies” (from the Urdu word kuli, or ... More

The Slaving Voyage of the Albion-Frigate  

Jacques Barbot

Jacques Barbot (also known as James Barbot) was born around 1650 to a Protestant family in Saint-Martin on the Ile de Re, near the French seaport of La Rochelle. Little is known about his ... More

Theories of Race and the History of Africa  

P. Diagne

One of the more tragic legacies of how evolutionary theories can be manipulated is how these theories were used to justify the suppression of one group (defined as a race) by another. ... More

“What to the Slave is the 4th of July?”  

Frederick Douglass

Born the son of an unknown white planter and a black slave mother Frederick Douglass (1817–1895) was one of the most exceptional human rights leaders in American history. His fiery speeches ... More