U.S. slavery era/Bibliography

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A list of key readings about U.S. slavery era.
Please sort and annotate in a user-friendly manner. For formatting, consider using automated reference wikification.
  • Finkelman, Paul, and Joseph C. Miller, eds. Macmillan Encyclopedia of World Slavery. 2 vol (1999)
  • Miller, Randall M., and John David Smith, eds. Dictionary of Afro-Amerian Slavery (1988)
  • Rodriguez, Junius P., ed. Encyclopedia of Slave Resistance and Rebellion. Greenwood, 2006.

Scholarly studies

  • Berlin, Ira. Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America (2000) ACLS E-book
  • Berlin, Ira and Ronald Hoffman, eds. Slavery and Freedom in the Age of the American Revolution (1983). essays by scholars
  • Blassingame, John W. The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South (2nd ed. 1979) excerpt and text search
  • David Brion Davis. Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World (2006)
  • Elkins, Stanley. Slavery : A Problem in American Institutional and Intellectual Life. (1976). Controversial comparison with Nazi concentration camp life; says the slave was a passive "Sambo"
  • Fehrenbacher, Don E. Slavery, Law, and Politics: The Dred Scott Case in Historical Perspective (1981)
  • Fogel, Robert W. Without Consent or Contract: The Rise and Fall of American Slavery (1989). Controversial econometric approach
  • Gallay, Alan. The Indian Slave Trade (2002).
  • Genovese, Eugene. Roll Jordan Roll: The World the Slaves Made (1974), the most influential study of slavery; takes Marxist approach; emphasizes religion excerpt and text search
  • Genovese, Eugene D. The Political Economy of Slavery: Studies in the Economy and Society of the Slave South (1967)
  • Genovese, Eugene D. and Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Fruits of Merchant Capital: Slavery and Bourgeois Property in the Rise and Expansion of Capitalism (1983)
  • Gomez, Michael. Exchanging Our Country Marks: The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South (1998) 384pp excerpt and text search
  • Higginbotham, A. Leon, Jr. In the Matter of Color: Race and the American Legal Process: The Colonial Period. (1978).
  • Kolchin, Peter. American Slavery, 1619-1877 (wnd ed. 2003), a short survey excerpt and text search
  • Kulikoff, Allan. Tobacco and Slaves: The Development of Southern Cultures in the Chesapeake, 1680 - 1800 (1986)
  • Morris, Thomas D. Southern Slavery and the Law, 1619-1860 (1996).
  • Rothman, Adam. Slave Country: American Expansion and the Origins of the Deep South. (2005). 282 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Scarborough, William K. The Overseer: Plantation Management in the Old South (1984)
  • Stampp, Kenneth M. The Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South (1956) influential survey
  • Tadman, Michael. Speculators and Slaves: Masters, Traders, and Slaves in the Old South (1989).

State and local studies

  • Fields, Barbara J. Slavery and Freedom on the Middle Ground: Maryland During the Nineteenth Century (1985).
  • Clayton E. Jewett and John O. Allen; Slavery in the South: A State-By-State History (2004)
  • Minges, Patrick N.; Slavery in the Cherokee Nation: The Keetoowah Society and the Defining of a People, 1855-1867 2003 deals with Indian slave owners.
  • Mohr, Clarence L. On the Threshold of Freedom: Masters and Slaves in Civil War Georgia (1986).
  • Mooney, Chase C. Slavery in Tennessee (1957).
  • Morgan, Edmund S. American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia (1975). influential colonial study
  • Olwell, Robert. Masters, Slaves, & Subjects: The Culture of Power in the South Carolina Low Country, 1740-1790 (1998).
  • Reidy, Joseph P. From Slavery to Agrarian Capitalism in the Cotton Plantation South, Central Georgia, 1800-1880 (1992).
  • Ripley, C. Peter. Slaves and Freemen in Civil War Louisiana (1976).
  • Rivers, Larry Eugene. Slavery in Florida: Territorial Days to Emancipation (2000).
  • Sellers, James Benson; Slavery in Alabama (1950)
  • Sydnor, Charles S. Slavery in Mississippi. (1933)
  • Takagi, Midori. Rearing Wolves to Our Own Destruction: Slavery in Richmond, Virginia, 1782-1865 (1999).
  • Taylor, Joe Gray. Negro Slavery in Louisiana. (1963).
  • White, Deborah Gray. Ar'n't I a Woman? Female Slaves in the Plantation South, (2nd ed. 1999) excerpt and text search
  • Wood, Peter H. Black majority: Negroes in colonial South Carolina from 1670 through the Stono Rebellion (1975) ACLS E-book


  • Blassingame, John. "Using the Testimony of Ex-Slaves: Approaches and Problems," Journal of Southern History, 41 (November 1975), 473-92. in JSTOR
  • Boles, John B.. and Evelyn T. Nolen, eds., Interpreting Southern History: Historiographical Essays in Honor of Sanford W. Higginbotham (1987).
  • King, Richard H. "Marxism and the Slave South", American Quarterly 29 (1977), 117-31. focus on Genovese in JSTOR* Peter Kolchin, "American Historians and Antebellum Southern Slavery, 1959-1984", in William J. Cooper, Michael F. Holt, and John McCardell , eds., A Master's Due: Essays in Honor of David Herbert Donald (1985), 87-111
  • McPherson et al., James M. Blacks in America: Bibliographical Essays (1971).
  • Parish, Peter J. Slavery: History and Historians (1989) onlineedition
  • Spindel, Donna J. "Assessing Memory: Twentieth-Century Slave Narratives Reconsidered," Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 27 (Autumn 1996), 247-61 in JSTOR
  • Tulloch, Hugh. The Debate on the American Civil War Era (1999) ch 2-4

Primary Sources

  • Albert, Octavia V. Rogers. The House of Bondage Or Charlotte Brooks and Other Slaves. (1991). Primary sources with commentary.
  • Berlin, Ira, Joseph P. Reidy, and Leslie S. Rowlands, eds. Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867 5 vol (1982). very large collection of primary sources regarding the end of slavery
  • Blassingame, John W., ed. Slave Testimony: Two Centuries of Letters, Speeches, Interviews, and Autobiographies. (1977).
  • Douglass, Frederick. A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845) (Project Gutenberg: [1]), (Audio book at FreeAudio.org [2])
  • Griffiths, Julia, ed. "The Heroic Slave." Autographs for Freedom. 1853. 174-239. Available at the Documenting the American South website[3].
  • Douglass, Frederick. My Bondage and My Freedom (1855) (Project Gutenberg: [4])
  • Douglass, Frederick. Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1892)
  • Douglass, Frederick.Collected Articles Of Frederick Douglass, A Slave (Project Gutenberg)
  • Douglass, Frederick. Frederick Douglass: Autobiographies ed by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Omnibus of all three)
  • Rawick, George P., ed. The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography . 19 vols. Greenwood, 1972. Collection of WPA interviews made in 1930s with ex-slaves

Historical fiction