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Antislavery Literature Project

The goal of the Antislavery Literature Project is to increase public access to a body of literature crucial to understanding African American experience, US and hemispheric histories of slavery, and early human rights philosophies. These multilingual collections contribute to an educational consciousness of the role of many antislavery writers in creating contemporary concepts of freedom.

Antislavery literature represents the origins of multicultural literature in the United States. It is the first body of American literature produced by writers of diverse racial origins. It encompasses slave narratives, lectures, travel accounts, political tracts, prose fiction, poetry, drama, religious and philosophical literature, compendia, journals, manifestos, and children's literature. There is a complex and contradictory range of voices, from journalistic reportage to sentimental poetry, from racial paternalism and stereotyping to advocacy of interracial equality, from religious disputation to militant antislavery calls. In its whole, this literature is inseparable from an understanding of democratic development in US society.

The Antislavery Literature Project engages in public scholarship by providing educational access to the literature and history of the antislavery movement in the United States. Universities and high schools throughout the US and abroad make use of Project editions.

We encourage public use of and participatory contributions to literary and historical scholarship of slavery. We believe that public scholarship, where the academy and community meet to create and use cultural knowledge together, is an expression of engaged citizenship.

To accomplish this work, our project does historical research; production of electronic editions; and delivers annotated texts via the Internet. We make a select corpus of annotated antislavery literature available for free for educational purposes.

As large amounts of earlier American texts have become available online, the Project has shifted away from its earlier large-scale digitization work.  In recent years our efforts have emphasized cross-cultural readings and translations.  We seek to locate the North American literature of slavery and emancipation within a global literature concerned with freedom.  We are currently publishing translations of North American slave narratives into Chinese, accompanied by cross-cultural teaching guides.

The Antislavery Literature Project website, located at Iowa State University’s EServer publishing collaborative, currently has 2500-3000 unique visits daily.  Since the Project began in 2005 it has had over 5 million unique visits.

For further information, contact Joe.Lockard@asu.edu.

Facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/abolitionistliterature/  

Teaching Guide to The History of Mary Prince (1831), Joe Lockard

Teaching Guide to The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (1789), Joe Lockard with Shi Penglu

Harriet Jacobs, 女奴生平 – Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (2015), Shi Penglu (trans.) and Joe Lockard (ed.), Shanghai Jiaotong University Press