“Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938,” a project of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of formerly enslaved African Americans. These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and assembled and microfilmed in 1941 as the seventeen-volume “Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves”. This online collection includes more than 200 photographs from the Prints and Photographs Division that are now made available to the public for the first time. It is an excellent resource for those seeking first-hand accounts of nineteenth century African American history.
The Boston (MA) Public Library has made accessible an extensive collection of digitized manuscripts that reflect the diverse lives of the nation's abolitionist leaders. The collection includes over 180 digitized correspondences that belonged to Frederick Douglass. Other major abolitionists whose correspondences are featured include William Lloyd Garrison and many others.
The Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection is one of the nation's leading research facilities for the study of the history and culture of people of African descent. The core collection was donated to Temple University in 1983 by Charles L. Blockson, a Pennsylvania bibliophile and collector of Afro-Americana. As a major research facility, it provides materials, expository programs and service for Black Studies research scholars. The collection is used by a wide spectrum of researchers ranging from high school students to well-established scholars.
The Blockson Underground Railroad Collection, located at Temple University, is from the private collection of Charles L. Blockson and one of the largest in the country. The bulk of the collection contains over a thousand items on the members of the Underground Railroad as well as historical pamphlets, broadsides and memoirs the leading figures of the UGRR. Among the highly valued materials in the collection are letters of William Still.
The website for Central Michigan University’s Clarke Historical Library, located in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, provides access to the library's archival and bibliographic resources on African American history. It offers information on reading material detailing the history of key people in the Underground Railroad such as William Lambert, Henry Bibb, Josiah Begole, and others.
The Daniel A. P. Murray Pamphlet Collection at the Library of Congress presents a panoramic review of African American history and culture. The collection spans almost one hundred years from the early nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries, with the bulk of the material published between 1875 and 1900. Among the authors represented are Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells, Benjamin W. Arnett, Alexander Crummell, and Emanuel Love.
The Detroit Historical Museum, located in Detroit, Michigan, is home to the ‘Doorway to Freedom and the Underground Railroad’ exhibition. The exhibition's website offers information fulfilling its mission to educate the public about the significant role Detroit played in the Underground Railroad. This website has engaging visual material and informational resources about nineteenth century Detroit.
The Dr. Nathan Thomas House in Schoolcraft, Michigan is a National Historic Landmark. Built in 1835, it was the home of one of Michigan's most active Underground Railroad participants, Dr. Nathan Thomas, a founding member of the state's Republican Party and Kalamazoo County's first physician. Operated by the Schoolcraft Historical Society, this website provides detailed information about Dr. Thomas and his wife Pamela Brown-Thomas, who in her memoirs wrote about their involvement in the UGRR. The website also provides educational tour information.
A compilation of printed texts from the libraries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “First-Person Narratives of the American South, 1860-1920” documents the American South from the viewpoint of southerners. Consisting of over one hundred diaries, autobiographies, memoirs, travel accounts, and narratives published during and after the Civil War, the collection includes work by not only prominent individuals, but also relatively inaccessible populations: formerly enslaved African Americans, women, enlisted men, laborers, and Native Americans.
The National Park Service preserves local history and celebrates local and national American heritage. The Frederick Douglass House, located in the historic Cedar Hill community of Washington, DC, is one of the national treasures managed by the National Park Service. This website provides lesser-known facts about Frederick Douglass (1818-1995), the most famous nineteenth century advocate for freedom and civil rights. Under the website’s ‘History and Culture’ link, one can explore a listing of online resources about Douglass-related people, places, and collections.