Primary Sources: Slavery, Abolition, and Social Justice database

Slavery, Abolition, and Social Justice is a searchable database that includes documents and images that have been selected from the collections of various libraries, museums, and archives from the UK, United States, and Canada.

Most materials are in English, but other languages are represented. Similar to the other Adam Matthew Digital resources owned by the Library, this one can be accessed using a basic search, advanced search, or choosing from a list of popular searches. When searching, use the suggested search tips, which will not only help you retrieve more relevant results, but will help you account for variations in spelling and scanning errors that occur when optical character recognition is done on older type styles or documents in poor condition.

The content can also be accessed by browsing through thematic collections, which include:

  • Slavery in the Early Americas 
  • African Coast 
  • Middle Passage 
  • Slavery and Agriculture 
  • Urban and Domestic Slavery 
  • Slave Testimony 
  • Spiritualism and Religion 
  • Resistance and Revolts 
  • Underground Railroad 
  • The Abolition Movement and the Slavery Debate 
  • Legislation and Politics 
  • Freed Slaves, Freedmen and Free Black Settlements 
  • Education 
  • Slavery and the Islamic World 
  • Varieties of Slave Experience 
  • The Legacy of Slavery and Slavery Today 

The court records category includes slavery-related court cases drawn mainly from the states of North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, and Missouri. Under Advanced Search there is a link to Court Records Advanced Search, allowing more precise searching of that subset of documents.

Supplementary resources include maps, scholarly essays, external resources links, visual resources, and an extensive bibliography.