Colonial Williamsburg publications & productions:
- Enslaving Virginia: Produced by the Foundation in 1999, this Resource Book documents Virginia‘s particular story of slavery within the context of the Atlantic world from the early seventeenth century to the American Revolution and beyond to the adoption of the fifteenth amendment in 1870. The primary and secondary sources selected both reveal the harsh realities of Virginia‘s racially based slave system and provide insights into the lives, fortunes, and values of all Virginians, enslaved and free, trapped in its practice. Some of these documents are also testimonies to the triumphant human spirit of those who suffered most from the brutality of slavery and of those who courageously opposed the system.
- Broken Chains: Broken Chains was the departmental newsletter for the Department of African American Interpretation and Presentations (AAIP), 1992-1994. Current interpreter Da-Veia Brown described these as “worth reading for their bibliographies, fast facts, African Proverbs, and information on both employees and their contributions to African-American interpretation. These issues also do a great job in connecting the African-American experience in the 18th century to that of the African-American experience today.” She particularly recommends:
- Volume 1, Number 2 focused on education
- Volume 1, Number 3 focused on music
- Volume 1, Number 6 focused on the African-American family and genealogy
- Volume 1, Number 8 focused on African-American women
- Volume 1, Number 9 focused on African-American men
- Volume 1, Number 12 focused on the paradox of slavery and freedom
- Volume 2, Number 2 focused on African-American food
- Volume 2, Number 3 focused on African-Americans in the trades in the 18th century
- African American Life: Historical Interpretation: panel discussion Colonial Williamsburg hosted in July 2019 as part of our commemoration of the 40th anniversary of African American Interpretation
- Slavery & Remembrance: this guide created by Colonial Williamsburg in collaboration with UNESCO’s Slave Route Project allows visitors to explore sites and museums across the globe that present the history and memory of slavery and the slave trade.
Online Primary Sources:
- Hening’s Statutes at Large: digitized and available through HathiTrust
- Virginia Gazette: digitized issues available through Rockefeller Library’s website
- The Library of Virginia’s Virginia Untold: The African American Narrative
- The Geography of Slavery in Virginia. Costa, Tom, and The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia.
Racism & Inequality:
- National Museum of African American History & Culture’s Historical Foundations of Race
- Virginia Humanities’ With Good Reason podcast: “An Outrage:” Reflections on Racism Past & Present (includes reflections on the August 12, 2017 tragedy in Charlottesville)
- Teaching Tolerance’s resource guide for Teaching about Race, Racism & Police Violence
Books and Articles:
- Bly, Antonio T. “Breaking with Tradition: Slave Literacy in Early Virginia, 1680-1780.” PhD diss., College of William and Mary, 2006. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global (3235685).
- Breen, T. H. Tobacco Culture: The Mentality of the Great Tidewater Planters on the Eve of Revolution. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985.
- Brown, Kathleen M. Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996.
- Chambers, Douglas B. Murder at Montpelier: Igbo Africans in Virginia. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2005.
- Chappell, Edward A. “Housing Slavery.” In Cary Carson and Carl R. Lounsbury, eds. The Chesapeake House: Architectural Investigation by Colonial Williamsburg. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2013, 156-78.
- Coombs, John C. “The Phases of Conversion: A New Chronology for the Rise of Slavery in Early Virginia.” The William and Mary Quarterly, 3d. ser., 68, no. 3 (July 2011): 332-360.
- Isaac, Rhys. Landon Carter’s Uneasy Kingdom: Revolution and Rebellion on a Virginia Plantation. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
- Kern, Susan. The Jeffersons at Shadwell. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010.
- Morgan, Edmund S. American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia. New York: W. W. Norton, 1975.
- Morgan, Philip D. Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake and Lowcountry. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998.
- Mullin, Gerald W. Flight and Rebellion: Slave Resistance in Eighteenth-Century Virginia. New York: Oxford University Press, 1972.
- Musselwhite, Paul, Peter C. Mancall, and James Horn. Virginia 1619: Slavery and Freedom in the Making of English America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2019.
- Nicholls, Michael L. “Aspects of the African American Experience in Eighteenth-Century Williamsburg and Norfolk.” Unpublished research report. Williamsburg: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1990.
- Oast, Jennifer. Institutional Slavery: Slaveholding Churches, Schools, Colleges, and Businesses in Virginia, 1680–1860. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016.
- Rowe, Linda. “Gowan Pamphlet: Baptist Preacher in Slavery and Freedom.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 120, no. 1 (2012): 2-31.
- Schwarz, Philip J. Twice Condemned: Slaves and the Criminal Laws of Virginia, 1705-1865. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1988.
- Sobel, Mechal. The World They Made Together: Black and White Values in Eighteenth-Century Virginia. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987.
- Walsh, Lorena S. From Calabar to Carter’s Grove: The History of a Virginia Slave Community. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1997.
- Walsh, Lorena S. Motives of Honor, Pleasure, and Profit: Plantation Management in the Chesapeake, 1607-1763. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
- Willis, Anne Romberg. “The Master's Merry: Slave Prosecutions and Punishments in York County, Virginia, 1700 to 1780.” MA thesis, College of William and Mary, American Studies, 1995.
- Wolf, Eva Sheppard. Race and Liberty in the New Nation: Emancipation in Virginia from the Revolution to Nat Turner’s Rebellion. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2006.
Curated lists for further reading:
- Rockefeller Library’s Research Guide on African American Virginians
- Interpretive Challenges blog: “A New Freedom Summer and Beyond Reading List” (this blog is written by Emmanuel Dabney, an interpreter at Petersburg National Battlefield)
- African American Intellectual History Society: #Charlestonsyllabus
- Sociologists for Justice: Ferguson Syllabus
Resources in the News
- African American Genealogical Resources
Virginia Currents talks with Timothy Wilson on how he has uncovered 13 family trees through genealogical research despite his struggle to find records on his African American ancestors who were slaves. See how “Virginia Untold-The African American Narrative” helps African Americans connect to their past.
- Mapping Virginia's Slave Dwellings: Preserving Black History with Street
In the Virginia state record, only 1% of documented historical sites are categorized as having any African-American historical significance. It’s easy to visit historic sites from the era of slavery and forget the enslaved men, women and children who built and maintained these places.
Mapping Virginia's Slave Dwellings: Preserving Black History with Street View