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Researching Slavery in New York State
This page highlights a selection of resources for studying slavery in New York, from gradual emancipation in 1827, the African Burial Ground, the life of Sojourner Truth, and more. If you have questions or need additional resources, ask a librarian for assistance.
Selection of Books
As always, please check the library catalog for additional books on this topic.
Pretends to Be Free : Runaway Slave Advertisements from Colonial and Revolutionary New York and New Jersey (Revised and expanded ed.) by
Fordham University Press, 2019.
Call number [RH & LC Stacks] E445.N56 P74 2019
Emancipating New York : The Politics of Slavery and Freedom, 1777-1827 by
Louisiana State University Press, 2006.
Call number [RH Stacks] E445.N56 G45 2006
Slavery in New York by
New Press, 2005.
Call number [LC & RH Stacks] F128.9.N4 S55 2005
New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan by
Alfred A. Knopf, 2005.
Call number [LC & RH Stacks] F128.4 .L47 2005
Black and White Manhattan : The History of Racial Formation in Colonial New York City by
Oxford University Press, 2004.
Call number [RH Stacks] F128.9.A1 F66 2004
The African Burial Ground in New York City
African Burial Ground Final Reports
Provides access to reports conducted by the U.S. General Services Administration and Howard University covering the historical, bioanthropological, and archaeological significance of the African Burial Ground found at 290 Broadway.
Breaking Ground Breaking Silence : The Story of New York's African Burial Ground by
Henry Holt, 1998.
Call number [RH Stacks] F128.39 .H36 1998
Open Access Digital Collections
An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery, Laws of 1799, Chapter 62.
Image and transcription of the law passed to gradually abolish the institution of slavery in the State of New York.
Slavery in New York: A Historical Sketch by Ansel Judd Northrup
Published by the University of the State of New York in 1900, this book chronicles many primary sources, particularly laws, for further research.
New York Public Library Digital Collections on Slavery
Over 1,800 images, books, essays, and other documents relating to slavery from NYPL. Limit your search to by city name to see items relating slavery within New York State.
NYC's Early African American Settlements
Research guide from NYPL with links to primary sources for New Amsterdam’s “Little Africa,” Manhattan’s Seneca Village, Brooklyn’s Weeksville community, and Staten Island’s Sandy Ground neighborhood.
Colonial North America at Harvard Library
Provides access to a wide-ranging collection of digitized materials as part of an ongoing, multi-year project. Search "New York" to see digital collection items relating to slavery in New York state.
New York Slavery Records Index
A searchable compilation of records identifying individual enslaved persons and their owners, beginning as early as 1525 and ending during the Civil War.
New York Heritage Digital Collections
A collaborative project of eight Empire State Library Network highlighting digital collections from around New York state.
New-York Manumission Society Records, 1785-1849
Contains 11 volumes of records for the New-York Society for Promoting the Manumission of Slaves (commonly known as the New-York Manumission Society) covering its activities from its founding in 1785 through its dissolution in 1849.
Replication Data for New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan by Jill Lepore
Contains demographic information about the City of New York in the 1730s and 1740s compiled by Jill Lepore for her book on the alleged slave rebellion in 1741. (See listing for her book in the box on the left.)
Primary Sources in Library Databases
Sojourner Truth Resources
Reference & Instruction Department
Reference & Instruction Department
Fordham University Libraries
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