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Afrolumens Project Enslavement in Pennsylvania Home Page


How to Use This Site

Start here for enslavement research. Learn what you can find and how information is organized.

PA County Index

Go directly to Pennsylvania county lists of slaveholders and enslaved persons

Educational Articles

In depth explorations of topics related to the enslavement of African peoples in Pennsylvania

PA Enslavement FAQs

Understanding enslavement in PA through a series of common questions and answers


Read the Afrolumens Site Book...

The Year of Jubilee

Vol. 1: Men of God and Vol. 2: Men of Muscle

by George Nagle

  Both volumes of the Afrolumens book are no longer in print, although used copies may be found. You may also read the entire text of the book on this site.

The Year of Jubilee is the history of Harrisburg's free African American community, from the era of colonialism and enslavement to hard-won freedom.

Volume One, Men of God, covers the turbulent beginnings of this community, from Hercules and the first enslaved persons, the growth of slavery in central Pennsylvania, the Harrisburg area slave plantations, early freedom seekers, to the birth of a free Black community. Men of God is a detailed history of Harrisburg's first Black entrepreneurs, the early Black churches, the first Black neighborhoods, and the maturing of the social institutions that supported this vibrant community.

It includes an extensive examination of state and federal laws governing slave ownership and the recovery of runaway slaves, the growth of the colonization movement, anti-colonization efforts, anti-slavery, abolitionism and radical abolitionism. It concludes with the complex relationship between Harrisburg's Black and white abolitionists and details the efforts and activities of each group as they worked separately at first, then learned to cooperate in fighting against slavery. More here

Non-fiction, history. 607 pages, softcover.

Volume Two, Men of Muscle continues the history from 1850 and the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, through the explosive 1850s to the coming of Civil War to central Pennsylvania. In this volume, Harrisburg's African American community weathers kidnappings, raids, riots, plots, murders, intimidation, and the coming of war. Caught between hostile Union soldiers and deadly Confederate soldiers, they ultimately were forced to choose between fleeing or fighting. This is the true and dramatic story of that choice.

Non-fiction, history. 630 pages, softcover.

Volume One and Two Available free to read now. Click here to read.

 

 

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