On September 22, 1862, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation (it went into effect on January 1, 1863). The Proclamation freed slaves in the Confederate states still in rebellion against the United States, and paved the way for the 13th Amendment, which freed all slaves after the Civil War.

Although we still feel the repercussions of slavery in our modern world (socially, politically, economically), the abolition of slavery was an important turning point in the history of America. To remember why this is so, check out one of the following books and websites:



The American Crucible: Slavery, Emancipation, and Human Rights by Robin Blackburn

American Uprising: The Untold Story of America’s Largest Slave Revolt by Daniel Rasmussen

Border War: Fighting Over Slavery Before the Civil War by Stanley Harrold

Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America by Sylviane Diouf

The Emancipation Proclamation: Three Views (Social, Political, Iconographic) by Harold Holzer

Escape on the Pearl: The Heroic Bid for Freedom on the Underground Railroad by Mary Kay Ricks

Freedom by any Means: Con Games, Voodoo Schemes, True Love, and Lawsuits on the Underground Railroad by Betty DeRamus

Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World by David Brion Davis

Slave Nation: How Slavery United the Colonies and Sparked the American Revolution by Alfred W. Blumrosen

Slavery and the Making of America by James Oliver Horton

Slavery in America by Dorothy Schneider and Carl J. Schneider

Slavery’s Constitution: From Revolution to Ratification by David Waldstreicher

Ten Hills Farm: The Forgotten History of Slavery in the North by C. S. Manegold



African American Voices: A Documentary Reader, 1619-1877

Autobiographies by Frederick Douglass

Carolina Clay: The Life and Legend of the Slave Potter Dave by Leonard Todd

Equiano, the African: Biography of a Self-Made Man by Vincent Carretta

Freedom in My Heart: Voices from the United States National Slavery Museum

Freeing Charles: The Struggle to Free a Slave on the Eve of the Civil War by Scott Christianson

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself by Harriet Jacobs

John Washington’s Civil War: A Slave Narrative by John Washington

Mr. and Mrs. Prince: How an Extraordinary Eighteenth Century Family Moved Out of Slavery and into Legend by Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina

A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom: Including Their Own Narratives of Emancipation by David W. Blight

Odyssey of an African Slave by Sitiki

Slave Narratives

Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol by Nell Irvin Painter

Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives



The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines

The Known World by Edward P. Jones

A Mercy by Toni Morrison

Middle Passage by Charles Richard Johnson

My Jim by Nancy Rawles

Property by Valerie Martin

Sweetsmoke by David Fuller

Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill

Song of Slaves in the Desert by Alan Cheuse

Soul Catcher by Michael C. White

Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

The Wind Done Gone by Randall



National Archives: The Emancipation Proclamation

Library of Congress: Lincoln Papers: The Emancipation Proclamation

PBS: Slavery and the Making of America

U.S. National Slavery Museum

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

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