Texas Tech University

Celebrating Black Excellence: Emancipation

Slavery began in 1619 with the arrival of the first Africans to the colony of Virginia. Although the leaders of the colonies and ultimately the United States struggled with the morality of slavery, they allowed the system to continue for centuries before finally recognizing the extent of the unethical and brutal treatment of blacks in America. Emancipation, however, was not a gift given freely nor bestowed by the ruling powers. Instead, it was a battle hard fought, it was a song proudly sung, it was a railroad hewn by the sweat and blood of the very people who were enslaved.

Sojourner Truth: performance of "Ain't I a Woman?" by Kerry Washington

WPA Slave Narratives, explanation/definition

Audio and transcript of one narrative

Frederick Douglass, "Three Speeches"