Skip to main content

Get Started

CONTACT US

  • Share

Overview

This extraordinary, primary source collection is the first to comprehensively detail the extensive work of African Americans to abolish slavery in the United States prior to the Civil War. Covering the period 1830-1865, the collection presents the massive, international impact of African American activism against slavery, in the writings and publications of the activists themselves. The approximately 15,000 articles, documents, correspondence, proceedings, manuscripts, and literary works of almost 300 Black abolitionists show the full range of their activities in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, France and Germany. This collection, when first published in microfilm, literally transformed scholarly understanding of Black activism during this period. Now it is available in a searchable, easily accessible format for research, teaching, and study.

Black Abolitionist Papers represents a huge effort by a scholarly team, headed by C. Peter Ripley and George E. Carter, who recognized that African Americans were a pivotal and persuasive force in the 19th-century anti-slavery movement but that their work had been virtually ignored in scholarship prior to this collection. The team painstakingly identified African American activists through countless hours of research and scrutiny, bringing to light many names previously lost to history. Primary documents were gathered from more than 100 libraries and archives across the world. The set was microfilmed and published in 1981 and quickly established a significant shift in historical scholarship regarding Black leadership, activism, and community life during this period. The collection remains an unequalled, “pristine record of Black abolitionism.”

Primary sources

The digital collection reproduces, in full, the 17 reels of microfilmed content from the original collection. Unique, hand-written correspondence and documents comprise around 30% of this collection. Included in the collection are such types of primary documents as:

  • Correspondence of major African American leaders
  • Speeches, sermons, and lectures
  • Articles, essays, editorials, and other major writings from more than 200 newspapers: African American, abolitionist, and reform newspapers
  • Receipts, poems, and other miscellaneous documents

Research Value

The primary source material in this collection will provide easily accessible and vital content for researchers, teachers, and students in many disciplines, including those that focus on such topics as:

  • Individual and community activism
  • Political power of minority groups
  • International social movements
  • Black political action
  • Black colonization and emigration
  • Northern/Southern separatism within the church
  • Church support of Black educational institutions
  • Black intellectual and social life
  • Controversies within the Black abolitionist community
  • Racial relations within the larger abolitionist movement
  • Social change agents

Geographic areas covered

The materials in this collection are wide-ranging in geographic scope. The majority of content, however, is concentrated on the following areas:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • British Isles

Academic History Webinar

Are You Aligned with Your Researchers?

Attend our webinars on Improving Outcomes with Content Diversity, including history research and learning applications.

Learn More

Literature Products & Services

Unique Government Documents to be Digitized by ProQuest with the National Library of Scotland

he 19th Century House of Lords Papers will be accessible to researchers around the world at the click of a button.

Learn More

Legislative Histories

CIA Covert Operations II: A Compilation of the NSA’s Trove of Declassified CIA Materials

CIA Covert Operations II, with its 1,000+ documents in this collection, just for 1975 – the “Year of Intelligence” -- is easily the most extensive published intelligence collection of the 1970s available.

Learn More

Support & Training

ProQuest offers best-in-class customer service, technical support, and training so you can hit the ground running with your ProQuest products and leverage everything they can do.

Access Support Center

Related Products

Microfilm

A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century

Eight-volume English edition reprinted in two volumes; two very scarce volumes of the German edition, which were not translated into English, reprinted in a separately available third volume.

Learn More

Microfilm

A Concordance to the Poems of Dylan Thomas

Romantic. Affirmative. Rhetorical. The poetry of Dylan Thomas urged readers to ponder life as they never had before. Researchers now have access to a concordance and word list keyed to the 1978 printing of Dylan Thomas: The Poems, edited by Daniel Jones.

Learn More

Microfilm

A People at War

Letters, diaries, memoirs, and other personal papers from the Civil War holdings of the Library of Congress. Edited by John R. Sellers.

Learn More

Blog

A Message from Stephen Rhind-Tutt, Co-founder, Alexander Street

Stephen Rhind-Tutt takes a new role advising on all of ProQuest’s products and strategy rather than just Alexander Street’s.

Learn More

The Flipside of Fake News: Appreciating Responsible Journalism

Using reliable news content to learn how to think like a journalist and become a critical news consumer.

Learn More