November 19, 2022

Today in History: Elizabeth Keckley

Today in History–November 15–the Library of Congress features Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, whose emancipation deed was signed on this date in 1855. Although best known for her role as confidante and dressmaker to President Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd, Keckley was also an author and a generous philanthropist who assisted escapees from southern slavery. Find out more by visiting the  Today in History section, then click the links below to access related resources. Mention of Elizabeth Keckley in … [Read more...]

Primary Source Spotlight: Three-Fifths Compromise & the Northwest Ordinance

Three-Fifths Compromise U.S. Constitution Article I Section 2 Clause 3 Fragment of an original letter on the slavery of the negroes; written in the year 1776, by Thomas Day, Esq James Madison correspondence related to slavery Madison Debates, Avalon Project June 11, 1787 July 11, 1787 July 12, 1787 August 8, 1787 August 25, 1787 The Constitution a pro-slavery compact; or, Extracts from the Madison papers, etc. selected by Wendell Phillips 1856 Mysteries … [Read more...]

Collections Spotlight: African American Perspectives

"African American Perspectives" gives a panoramic and eclectic review of African American history and culture and is primarily comprised of two collections in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division: the African American Pamphlet Collection and the Daniel A.P. Murray Collection with a date range of 1822 through 1909. Most were written by African-American authors, though some were written by others on topics of particular importance in African-American history. Among the authors … [Read more...]

Timely Connections: Frederick Douglass & the Emancipation Memorial

Amid calls for removal of the Emancipation Memorial, also called the Freedmen’s Monument, in Washington D.C. and a replica of it in Boston, Washington Post reporter DaNeen L. Brown considers the statue and takes a look back at a speech made by Frederick Douglass at the D.C. unveiling ceremony on April 14, 1876. In the speech, Douglass recognizes the dichotomy of Lincoln's views on slavery while ultimately celebrating the proclamation. If Harriet Hosmer's design for the memorial—four … [Read more...]

Today in History: Juneteenth

Today in History–June 19–TPS-Barat features Juneteenth. On this date in 1865, Major General Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3 in Galveston, Texas, informing the slaves of the Emancipation Proclamation, issued two and a half years earlier by President Abraham Lincoln. Although Juneteenth was informally celebrated each year since 1865, it wasn't until June 3, 1979, that Texas became the first state to proclaim it an official state holiday. Today more than 40 officially recognize … [Read more...]

Collections Spotlight: Works by Civil War Era African American Women

These digitized works were written by and about African American women who lived during the U.S. Civil War and include autobiographies, biographies, children’s books, novels, poetry, speeches and more. The authors and the works are listed below; click the section headers to access links to the online works. Some authors also have related resource links. Autobiographies & Biographies Sarah H. Bradford 1818-1912 Harriet, the Moses of Her People 1886 Scenes in the Life of … [Read more...]

Timely Connections: James Madison & Slavery

In an opinion piece for the New York Times, Noah Feldman, a Harvard law professor and the author of the book The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President, discusses the dichotomies between Madison's moral views of slavery and his actions. Delving into the past, he contends, can provide us with lessons in racism for today. The tension between Madison’s aspirational beliefs and his highly constrained actions continues to be America’s own tension. Like Madison, contemporary United … [Read more...]

Timely Connections: Slavery & Compromise

In a Fox News interview with White House chief of staff John Kelly on Oct. 30, 2017, the former marine general said that “the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War”. Kelly's statement set off a firestorm of impassioned responses across traditional and social media about the cause of the Civil War and the history of slavery and compromise prior to this seminal event. Read some of the contemporary articles, review background information about compromises over slavery prior to the … [Read more...]

Timely Connections: Individual Influence

The article, In a Lost Essay, a Glimpse of an Elusive Poet and Slave (The New York Times Sept. 25, 2017), tells the intriguing story of the discovery of a primary source text by Jonathan Senchyne, an assistant professor of book history at the University of Wisconsin. The essay, "Individual Influence" by North Carolina slave and poet George Moses Horton, was found in a scrapbook documenting an 1856 University of North Carolina (UNC) controversy compiled by Henry Harrisse, a 19th-century historian … [Read more...]

Today in History: Compromise of 1850

Today in History–September 20–the Library of Congress features the abolishment of the slave trade in Washington D.C., which was a feature of a legislative package known as the Compromise of 1850. Learn more by reading the Today in History section, then clicking the links below to access related primary & secondary sources. Compromise of 1850: American Treasures of the Library of Congress Compromise of 1850 timeline and select documents January 29, 1850 : Senator Henry Clay … [Read more...]