The Ecclesiastical and Secular Sources for Slave Societies (ESSSS) project, led by Jane Landers, featured in NEH Humanities:
“Until recently, the names and lives of individuals like Ana, Bartolome Joseph, and Francisco—and millions of others who toiled on the sugar plantations of colonial Cuba or in the mines of eighteenth-century Brazil—were thought to have vanished. Undertakings like the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database have helped reclaim some of their history, giving a picture of the enormous scale of the slave trade by tracing the routes of roughly 10 million Africans forcibly transported to the Americas between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. Now, an international team of researchers is working to fill in missing details about those individuals by rescuing church and municipal records before these documents disappear for good.
“The Ecclesiastical and Secular Sources for Slave Societies (ESSSS) project brings together endangered records from Cuba, Brazil, Colombia, and Spanish Florida that document the lives of between four and six million African and Afro-descended individuals, and the indigenous Americans and Europeans who lived alongside them. Over 13 years of hunting through the archives and basements of cathedrals and parish churches produced three centuries’ worth of handwritten documents. It is the most extensive continuous record we have of the African diaspora in the Americas and offers new insights into the history of countries that still struggle with the political, economic, and social legacies of slavery.”
Read the rest: