University of Alabama Creates Database Relating to History of Slavery on Campus

A group of researchers at the University of Alabama have established a new website compiling historical records of enslaved people who labored on the university’s campus before the start of the Civil War.

The University of Alabama project is part of a larger effort from the Consortium of Universities Studying Slavery, which aims to uncover the history of slavery on colleges and universities by analyzing institutional archives and historical collections. The consortium, led by the University of Virginia, has over 100 member organizations across the United States, Canada, Colombia, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

To create their website, University of Alabama researchers combed through their institution’s archives, identifying as many enslaved individuals as possible and entering their names and associated records into an online database. Visitors to the university’s new website can search enslaved people by name and review any information the university has on that individual’s life.

Dr. Jerry Shaw, associate professor of history who led the research group states, “It is the first time that these documents are fully accessible – every entry has been transcribed so that visitors can see the originals, but also read a typed transcription for better ease of use.”

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