NEWS: Harvard to Digitize 18th and 19th Century Anti-Slavery Petitions

Hilton Petition

The Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University is digitizing eighteenth and nineteenth-century anti-slavery petitions:

“…Included in the thousands of petitions are first-person accounts of former slaves and free African-Americans seeking aid and full rights. For scholars, the use of the documents will be invaluable in research and teaching….

…According to project archivist Nicole Topich, signers of the petitions include 18th-century abolitionist Prince Hall, the founder of the first African-American Freemasonry. Other notable signers: African-American abolitionists Thomas Paul, Charles Lenox Redmond, and William Cooper Nell. Support also came from Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, John Greenleaf Whittier, and Louisa May Alcott. Labor, political, and religious organizations backed many petitions….

…The Center for American Political Studies received a Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Foundation grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for the project, which in addition to the digitized petitions will include an interactive map, with connections to statistical and geographical data. Completion of the project is slated for June 2015.”

Read the rest: Colin Manning | Digitizing a movement | Harvard Gazette

Image Credit: “Led by John T. Hilton and signed by 11 prominent freemen of color in Boston, this 1858 petition was in reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1857 Dred Scott decision.”

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