Enslavement & Abolition

The first Africans to arrive in North America were captured and sold as chattel in the transatlantic slave trade. Between the 1600s and 1800s, over twelve million enslaved Africans were shipped to the New World. Although most commonly associated with the plantations of the southern colonies, slavery fueled commerce in the northern colonies and the Early Republic. As we remember these stories at sites like Hampton National Historic Site in Maryland, Magnolia Plantation in Louisiana, and Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island in Florida, it becomes clear that slavery was far more than an economic institution. It stripped individuals of their most basic human rights and embedded racial inequality into American society and law. The abolition of slavery only triumphed after the prolonged struggle of abolitionists. The enslaved and their descendants have spent the subsequent centuries fighting against injustice and for the freedom and human rights the United States’ society had so long denied them.

For a more complete look at this subject, visit the Slavery & Abolition subject site.

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    Last updated: October 22, 2018