The Uprising of 60,000 Jamaicans That Changed the Very Nature of Revolt

Just Months After the Groundbreaking 1831 Rebellion, the British Empire Abolished Slavery

In the summer of 1831, a select group of enslaved people in northwest Jamaica began murmuring to each other about “the business.”

To mention the fledgling enterprise in the presence of a white master was a ticket to torture and likely death by hanging, so everyone took precautions to swear new recruits to secrecy. With a few months, more than 60,000 enslaved people had heard about the effort, through well-wired plantation networks.
 
Then, on the night of December 27, 1831, “the business” opened. The first signal fires were lit …

The ‘Ferociously Contested’ Story of How Blackness Became a Legal Identity | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The ‘Ferociously Contested’ Story of How Blackness Became a Legal Identity

In Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana, Colonial Laws Defining ‘Freedom’ Still Affected the Status of Citizens Centuries Later

How did Africans become “blacks” in the Americas?

Those who were forced into the ships of the infamous slave trade probably thought of themselves using ethnic and territorial terms that …

The Heartbreaking Love Letters That Spurred an Ohio Blacksmith to Join John Brown’s Raid | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Heartbreaking Love Letters That Spurred an Ohio Blacksmith to Join John Brown’s Raid

Dangerfield Newby’s Enslaved Wife Wrote Increasingly Desperate Missives That Inspired Her Husband to Join the Abolitionist Rebellion

Every October 16 marks the anniversary of John Brown’s historic raid on Harpers Ferry in West Virginia in 1859. Accompanied by 18 supporters, Brown, a radical abolitionist, hoped to …

How Jamestown Abandoned a Utopian Vision and Embraced Slavery | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How Jamestown Abandoned a Utopian Vision and Embraced Slavery

In 1619, Wealthy Investors Overthrew the Charter That Guaranteed Land for Everyone

In the summer of 1619, some of England’s first American colonists were carving up land seized from the Powhatan empire along the James River in Virginia. While the first settlers …

The Escaped Slave Who Discovered America

Esteban, a Captive of Spanish Explorers, Led an Eight-Year, 3,500-Mile Trek Across the Southwest and Mexico

“The first white man our people saw was a black man,” wrote historian and Pueblo native Joe Sando in Pueblo Nations.

Sando was referring to Esteban, an African who became the …

How African American Spirituals Moved From Cotton Fields to Concert Halls

After the Civil War, Touring Groups of Black College Singers Popularized Slavery-Era Songs, Giving Rise to a New Musical Genre

“Swing low, sweet chariot….” These words are familiar to many Americans, who might sing them in worship, in Sunday school, around campfires, in school, and in community choruses. But …