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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.

From 2005-2017, millions of users in universities and high schools throughout the US and abroad made use of Project editions. Server arrangements changed in September 2017. A renovated site will return at some future point. At present the Project's series of teaching guides remain fully accessible online.

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.

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 first translation, of Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, is available in print. Selections are also available online.

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

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

Recent Antislavery Literature Project Teaching Guides are available here.