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Understanding Difference

Suggested resources to help you see the world from perspectives different from your own and "bring... you into conversation with people different from those with whom you normally associate.”

The African American Experience to 1865

Books, Essays, and Poetry:

  • Berlin, Ira. Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America.
  • Slaves Without Masters: The Free Negro in the Antebellum South
  • “American Slavery in History and Memory and the Search for Social Justice.” The Journal of American History 90, no. 4 (2004): 1251–68.
  • Blackett, Richard  J., The Captives Quest for Freedom: Fugitive Slaves, the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, and the Politics of Slavery.
  • Brown, Kathleen M., Good Wives, Nasty Wenches and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race and Power in Colonial Virginia
  • Camp, Stephanie. Closer to Freedom: Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South
  • Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, 1818-1895. 
  • DuBois, W.E.B. Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880
  • The Souls of Black Folk

  • Egerton, Douglas R., Death or Liberty: African Americans and Revolutionary America
  • Fields, Barbara J. and Karen E. Fields, Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life
  • Franklin, John Hope. From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans
  • Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantations

  • Furstenberg, François. “Beyond Freedom and Slavery: Autonomy, Virtue, and Resistance in Early American Political Discourse.” The Journal of American History 89, no. 4 (2003): 1295–1330.
  • Genovese, Eugene D. Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made
  • Glymph, Thavolia. Out of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).
  • The Women's Fight: The Civil War's Battles for Home, Freedom, and Nation.

  • Gosse, Van. The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in American From the Revolution to the Civil War
  • Holton, Woody. Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves, and the Making of the American Revolution
  • Horton, James Oliver and Lois E. Horton, In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community and Protest among Northern Free Blacks, 1700-1860
  • Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself.
  • Johnson, Walter. Soul by Soul: Life Inside An Antebellum Slave Market
  • Jones, Nikole-Hannah. The 1619 Project: A New Origins Story.
  • Jordan, Winthrop D. White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-1812
  • Kendi, Ibram X. and Blaine, Keisha. Four Hundred Souls, a Community History of African America
  • Litwack, Leon. Been in the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of Slavery
  • North of Slavery: The Negro in the Free States.

  • Morgan, Edmund., American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virgina.
  • “Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox.” The Journal of American History 59, no. 1 (1972): 5–29.

  • Nash, Gary B. The Forgotten Fifth: African Americans in the Age of Revolutions
  • Race and Revolution

  • Northup, Solomon., Twelve Years a Slave (1855)
  • Oakes, James., The Ruling Race: A History of American Slaveholders.
  • Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865.

  • O'Donovan, Susan Eva. Becoming Free in the Cotton South
  • Patterson, Orlando. Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study
  • “Slavery.” Annual Review of Sociology 3 (1977): 407–49.

  • Quarles, Benjamin A. The Negro in the Civil War.
  • The Negro in the American Revolution.

  • Reed, Annette Gordon., The Hemings of Monticello: An American Family
  • On Juneteenth

  • Rockman, Seth Scraping By: Wage Labor, Slavery, and Survival in Early Baltimore
  • Rodgers, Stephanie Jones. They Were Her Property: White Women as Slaveowners in the American South
  • Rose, Willie Lee. Rehearsal For Reconstruction: The Port Royal Experiment
  • Rosen, Hannah. Terror in the Heart of Freedom: Citizenship, Sexual Violence, and the Meaning of Race in the Postemancipation South (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2009)
  • Rothman, Adam Slave Country: American Expansion and the Origins of the Deep South
  • Sinha, Manisha. The Slave's Cause: A History of Abolition
  • Smallwood, Stephanie., Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to the American Diaspora
  • Stampp, Kenneth., The Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Antebellum South
  • Stuckey, Sterling, Slave Culture: Nationalist Theory and the Foundations of Black America
  • Taylor, Alan. The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832
  • Waldstreicher, David., Slavery's Constitution: From Revolution to Ratification
  • Williams, George Washington. History of the Negro Troops in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865.


Movies, Music, and Other Media:

Primary Source Collections: