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Slaves, chained together in a coffle, are paraded through the streets of Washington D.C. on their way to the slave market. Detail from a larger print in the Library of Congress.



A series of pages exploring
various aspects of slavery in Pennsylvania

  • Buying a Slave
    Where did Pennsylvanians buy slaves?
  • Pennsylvania Slave Merchants
    Who were some of the professional dealers in slaves, in Pennsylvania?
  • Resistance by Slaves
    What are some of the ways slaves resisted their bondage?
  • Slave Names
    How did slaves get their names?
  • Agriculture and Slaves
    How were slaves used on Pennsylvania farms? Did Pennsylvania have "plantations?"
  • Profiles of William Kelso and Sons  by Fred Kelso
    The Kelso family operated a ferry and owned slaves in Dauphin, Cumberland and Erie counties. Included on this page are photographs by Fred Kelso of the July 4, 2000 re-enactment of the operation of the Kelso-Harris ferry. This re-enactment featured a replica of the original ferry craft used by the Kelso and Harris families.
  • An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery--text
    Full text of the original act, passed on March 1st, 1780.
  • A Comparison of Servitude Agreements
    Full text of separate servitude agreements for two young men, one white and one Black.
  • Images of Slavery
    Scans of original newspaper advertisements offering slaves for sale, registration documents and miscellaneous documents, and discussion of commercial images including Nathaniel Currier's Branding Slaves on the Coast of Africa. Also included are photographs of slave burial sites and histories of slave burials at local cemeteries.



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