Enslaved People in the Southeast

The Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) announces a new digital exhibit created and curated by the ASERL Special Collections Interest Group. This collaborative online exhibit recognizes the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans sold into bondage in the English Colonies. This date, in 1619, is regarded as the beginning of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in North America.

The exhibit documents the history of the enslaved in the Southeast and includes material related to the many varied aspects of enslavement, including paper documents and records as well as images. These provide valuable information about the entire infrastructure and system of enslavement as well as the individual and group experiences of enslaved people. Items submitted include photos, letters, bills of sale, emancipation documents, insurance and taxation documents, and maps indicating segregation zones. The exhibit will also explore the legacies of slavery by including documents and images related to convict lease labor and Jim Crow in the 20th century.

Designed to illustrate the social complexity as well as the economic and human impact of the American ‘peculiar institution,’ in all its ugliness, these materials can guide the researchers in accurately depicting the institution of slavery in the Southeastern United States. The goal is to learn from our past and make our resources available to students, researchers, other institutions, and the public.

Participating Institutions
Clemson University
Duke University
East Carolina University
Emory University
Florida International University
Florida State University
George Mason University
Georgia State University
Georgia Institute of Technology
Johns Hopkins University
Library of Virginia
Louisiana State University
Mississippi State University
North Carolina State University
Samford University
Tulane University
University of Alabama
University of Alabama-Birmingham
University of Florida
University of Georgia
University of Kentucky
University of Louisville
University of Memphis
University of Miami
University of Mississippi
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina-Charlotte
University of North Carolina-Greensboro
University of South Carolina
University of South Florida
University of Tennessee-Knoxville
University of Virginia
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
Virginia State University
Virginia Union University
Wake Forest University
William & Mary

Curatorial Group:
Suzan Alteri, University of Florida
Jennifer Ford, University of Mississippi
E. Haven Hawley, University of Florida
Jennifer McGillan, Mississippi State University
Megan Mummey, University of Kentucky
Jessica Perkins Smith, Mississippi State University
Beatrice (Bea) Skokan, University of Miami
Melissa Smith, Louisiana State University
Tanya Zanish-Belcher, Wake Forest University


Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL)